The Joker is one of the most iconic comic book villains ever, and over the years the character's also built quite a legacy in the world of film. Several actors have taken on the part of Batman's greatest nemesis, including Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, and Jared Leto. Now Joaquin Phoenix is up to bat as part of Todd Phillips' new standalone Joker film, and from the early praise, it seems to be quite the performance. During a press conference at the Venice International Film Festival, Phoenix was asked if he prepared for the role by watching any other takes on the character, and it seems this version does not find its roots in anything that's come before
"For me what the attraction to make this film, this character, was that we were going to approach it in our own way, so for me, I didn't refer to any past iterations of the character," Phoenix said. "It was just something that felt like it was our creation in some ways and I think that's what was really important for me and key to it."
Early impressions are calling Phoenix's performance as Arthur Fleck truly impressive, with some calling for Academy Award nominations. The film is being described as surprising and brutal in equal measure, and it seems to truly be offering something different than Nicholson's more lighthearted take or Ledger's nuanced and chaotic performance.
As for the most recent Joker, we're not sure if we'll see Jared Leto's take on the Joker grace the screen once more, though he did make quite an impression on fans in Suicide Squad.
Joker stars Phoenix (Arthur Fleck/Joker), Zazie Beetz (Sophie Dumond), Robert De Niro (Murray Franklin), Brett Cullen (Thomas Wayne), Frances Conroy (Penny Fleck), Marc Maron (Ted Marco), Douglas Hodge (Alfred Pennyworth), Josh Pais (Hoyt Vaughn), Bryan Tyree Henry, Bryan Callen, Shea Whigham, and Glen Fleshler. You can find the official description below.
"Drama. Joker centers around the iconic arch-nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. The exploration of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study but also a broader cautionary tale."
Joker hits theaters on October 4th.