While quite a lot of actors have portrayed the Clown Prince of Crime over the years, audiences are especially curious to see how Joaquin Phoenix's version of the character stacks up. Even before the film officially hits theaters (and potentially garners award buzz), it sounds like Phoenix is pretty happy with the opportunity of getting to play the role. During the film's recent press conference at the Toronto International Film Festival (via @RaminSetoodeh), Phoenix spoke pretty highly of the experience of playing Arthur Fleck, a failed stand-up comedian who evolves into the iconic villain.
"There was something that was drawing me towards it, and it just evolved as we worked together." Phoenix explained. "It started becoming something more than I could have anticipated. And it was one of the greatest experiences of my career. I think it gave us back so much, like every day, whatever we put into it, it was just so energizing and exciting and inspiring."
This echoes previous comments that Phoenix has made about how much he enjoyed exploring the depths of the film's origin story.
"I guess I was interested, actually, in the light of Arthur, for lack of a better word." Phoenix previously revealed during the film's Venice Film Festival conference. "It wasn’t just the torment, it was kind of like the joy, it was his struggle to find happiness and to feel connected and to feel warmth and love. That’s the part of the character that I was interested in and I think was worth kind of exploring. I don’t think of a character as tormented. I don’t ever kind of define characters in that way. It’s only when I come to do press that I get asked these questions, but I never think of it that way."
"For me, for us, it’s almost, it was eight months, for me, of exploring this person." Phoenix continued. "It’s very difficult to distill that experience down into a soundbite or just into a definition of who the person is. He was so many things to me at different times. Who he was the first few weeks of shooting, completely different than who he was at the end. It was something that was constantly evolving. I don’t think I’ve ever had an experience quite like this one. I like to be open to different possibilities as I work. I try not to make concrete decisions about the character when I’m working. But with this one, it was impossible, and also, just kind of like a bummer if you did that [laughs]. Any time we did that, we’d make a decision for something, we’d look at each other, like ich, there’s something wrong about that. And the more unpredictable it was, the more exciting it was for us, and inspiring. And we kept trying to find something new in every moment."
Joining Phoenix in the film are Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro, Frances Conroy, Marc Maron, and Brian Tyree Henry.
Upcoming DC movies include Joker on October 4th, 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.