In a matter of weeks, Joaquin Phoenix will be lighting up the big screen with his portrayal of the Joker. In the midst of Joker's early awards buzz and box office predictions, Phoenix is showcasing another side of his life with a new ad campaign through PETA. On Monday, the animal activist group revealed a new poster featuring the actor, in which he promotes adopting a vegan lifestyle. The poster features a photo of Phoenix's face overlapped by a chicken in profile, to where their eyes line up perfectly. The poster's slogan decrees that "We Are All Animals", and that consumers should end speciesism, or the belief that some animals are inferior to humans.
"When we look at the world through another animal's eyes, we see that inside we're all the same—and that we all deserve to live free from suffering," Phoenix, who has been vegan since the age of 3, told PETA.
PETA recently debuted a billboard-sized version of the poster, which is currently on display in Times Square at the intersection of Seventh Avenue and W. 40th Street.
This is just the latest time that Phoenix has partnered with PETA, as the actor previously appeared in a "Cruelty Doesn't Suit Me" ad addressing the ethics of wool clothing. He also "drowned" in a video for the organization, as a way to show the suffering that fish go through shortly before dying.
This ad campaign comes just days before Phoenix makes his debut as Joker, a role that he was initially hesitant to take on.
"There was a lot of fear, yeah," Phoenix explained in an interview last month. "But I always say there's motivating fear and debilitating fear. There's the fear where you cannot make a f--king step, and there's the kind where it's like, 'OK, what do we do? That's not good enough.' And you're digging deeper and deeper. I love that kind of fear. It guides us, makes us work harder."
"I think oftentimes, in these movies, we have these simplified, reductive archetypes, and that allows for the audience to be distant from the character, just like we would do in real life," the actor said before adding, "I thought that here was this film, and these characters, where it wouldn't be easy for you as an audience. There are times where you're going to feel yourself connected to him, and rooting for him, and times when you should be repulsed by him. And I like that idea of challenging the audience, and challenging myself to explore a character like that. It's rare to explore characters like that in any movies, but specifically in the superhero genre."
Joker arrives in theaters on October 4th. Other upcoming DC movies include Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020, The Batman on June 25, 2021, The Suicide Squad on August 6, 2021, and Aquaman 2 on December 16, 2022.