The Joker is a role which is known to push actors mentally, as they consume themselves with the ideas of the popular DC Comics villain as a means to develop a character. Iconic performance for the role such as those from Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger have gone down in cinematic history, with that torch now being passed to Joaquin Phoenix in the villain's first self-titled movie. For Joker, Phoenix took a healthy amount of time to develop the character's iconic laugh, but admits he did not have to push himself to any scary, dark places for the performance which critics are calling Oscar-worthy.
"This is going to disappoint you, I don't think I [went to dark places], so we had a good time," Phoenix told ComicBook.com. "Honestly, or I'd feel like either I'm going to disappoint you, or I am going to seem like an actor that is not really committed, and you're like, 'He didn't really do good in that movie, he had a good time. He shouldn't have had a good time!'"
Phillips, sitting beside Phoenix, added, "We did laugh a lot." In fact, they often laughed until they cried while working on Joker, something which was clear as the actor and director laughed together while fielding questions after a screening.
"That was the thing, I saw somebody in the elevator, and they were like 'Wow, that was really f---ing intense' I was like 'Oh, we laughed like everyday,'" Phoenix said. "There was nothing really to laugh at, like 'Oh, we kind of are f---ed up! We literally were laughing. Everyday going, 'This is ridiculous! This guy is f---ing...' Yeah, I love those stories of actors, I kind of do wish that I was that way because it sounds so cool, but I didn't have that experience."
Phillips did add that despite the fun they had together, Phoenix did put a hearty amount of effort into prepping for the role. "You also prepare a lot more than you probably want to let on," the director said.
"Well whatever, but it's what we f---ing do," Phoenix quipped. "It's what you do, it's a regular job, it's what you do for your work."
While Phoenix is playing it cool, he and Phillips were so dedicated to Joker that they often took their work home with them. "I was telling my sisters the other day, we would arrive two hours before our call, be in the f---ing trailer working and then we would go home and we'd call each other," Phoenix said. "Well, we would text for a couple hours, then get frustrated with the texting, going, 'Just f---ing call.' I'd call you, you wouldn't answer a few times. And then I kept calling back and finally you were like 'What?' We would talk right? So, there was that."
Phillips says it was a "great process" and Phoenix says the entire experience was inspiring. In any case, it worked out, as ComicBook.com gave Joker a perfect score in the official review.0comments
Joker hits theaters on October 4.