Joaquin Phoenix Discusses Why He Took the Role of The Joker in Upcoming Standalone Flick

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brian-mcgee - July 12, 2018

If you were lurking on the site yesterday, you may have seen the story about DC making their Joker origin film starring Joaquin Phoenix official, but you may still be wondering why the actor would take on such an iconic role when he's spent most of his career avoiding such things.

Well, Collider wondered the same thing and asked him about it, and Phoenix was very candid about his reasons for taking the role. First things first, Phoenix made it clear that he didn't jump into this quickly. He took a lot of time carefully considering the pros and cons of playing The Joker...

“I take a lot of time and consideration when making decisions and what I’m gonna work on always. So, in some ways, the process, which is obviously reading a script and meeting a filmmaker and then continuing to have meetings and discussions with Todd [Phillips]. I think he’s very impressive and he seems to have a very interesting understanding of this world and what he’s trying to say. And so there is something very appealing about that and working with him on this particular project. It feels unique, it is its own world in some ways, and maybe, mostly, it scares the fucking shit out of me or something. It might as well be the thing that scares you the most.”

He was also attracted to the project because of its standalone nature and the fact that it's not linked to any other films in the current DC Universe...

“Three or four years ago, I called my agent and said ‘Why don’t they want to take one of these characters and just make a lower budget film about it, a movie but a character study, and why not take one of the villains?’ And I thought, ‘You can’t do the Joker, because, you know, it’s just you can’t do that character, it’s just been done.’ So I was trying to think of other characters, and he said ‘I’ll set up a general meeting with Warner Bros.’ And I said ‘I’m not gonna go, I can’t go to a general meeting.’ So I completely forgot about it, and so then I heard about this idea, I was like, ‘Oh that’s so exciting, that’s the kind of experience I wanted to have, with a movie based on a comic character.’ I felt like you could get something on screen.”

Phoenix is also clearly placing a ton of faith in director Todd Phillips, whom he hopes to aid in seeing his vision realized on screen...

“I wouldn’t quite classify this as like any genre. I wouldn’t say it’s a superhero movie, or a studio movie or a … It feels unique, and I think more then anything, and probably the most important thing, is Todd seems very passionate about it and very giving, and so that’s exciting. I think, underneath the excitement of these films, and the size of them, there are these incredible characters that are dealing with real life struggles. And sometimes that is uncovered and exposed, and sometimes it isn’t, and so I always felt, like, there were characters in comics that were really interesting and deserve the opportunity to be kind of studied. And so I think that’s what Todd sees appealing about this idea.”

So there you have it. Phoenix is on board mainly because this won't be like any other comic book movie. Back when he was in talks to potentially play Doctor Strange, I thought he'd never end up doing it because of the commitment to the universe of films. This is right in his wheelhouse, and if he seems excited for it, I think we should be as well, though as always, we should at least wait until we see a trailer before getting our hopes too high.

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