Joker's release date creeps ever closer as October is nearly in sight. The Clown Prince of Crime always has a couple of staples across his onscreen appearances and none more important than that haunting laugh. Fans have already heard a potential version of Joaquin Phoenix's laugh that moves itself out of the shadows of Cesar Romero, Heath Ledger, and Jack Nicholson's previous portrayals of the character.
Standing up to those names is a tough task, especially when the later selections are viewed as the definitive movie version. For his part, Cesar Romero is a huge reason why the character enjoys the visibility that he does today. Phoenix had to go a very unconventional route to arrive at the performance of the Joker's signature laugh.
"I started [with the laugh]," Phoenix explained to Il Venerdi, "I watched videos of people suffering from pathological laughter, a neurological disorder that makes individuals laugh uncontrollably."
The actor's comments to the popular Italian newspaper La Repubblica's weekly magazine are fascinating. The unhinged nature of the Clown Prince of Crime is something that the comics have increasingly investigated. But, this is something different, likening that sinister chuckle to a tic is a fresh approach.
Jared Leto's version of The Joker was hyped up considerably, with much of the narrative surrounding Suicide Squad focused on his version of the character. Following up Heath Ledger's performance - which he won a posthumous Oscar for - in The Dark Knight is a lot of pressure. The significant task ahead of him was finding his version of The Joker's laugh. Both Mark Hamill's mad cackle and Ledger's slow, methodical "ha ha ha," when The Joker laughs demanded the audience's attention.
"The character is a completely insane madman, with green hair and a great smile," Leto told Comicbook.com on the red carpet at the film's world premiere. When Comicbook.com asked the actor about his take on the signature laugh, he said it was a challenge.
"You know, when I got asked to play The Joker, I don't really have a big, precarious laugh personally," Leto told us. "So I was a bit terrified. This is a guy who's laughing, and laughing in a way that's very unique. So I worked on it, and worked on it, and came up with something that... is very strange, I admit."
Joker will be the latest cautionary tale about the iconic DC Comics villain. The film will not share any connections with the larger DC Extended Universe. Phoenix will star as Arthur Fleck, a failed stand-up comedian whose descent into madness turns him into the villain. Fans will see how that laugh stacks up in October. Joining Phoenix in the film are Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro, Frances Conroy, and Marc Maron.