It has been rumoured for a while now that Joaquin Phoenix was tapped to play the ‘Joker’ in a standalone origin film, and the rumour has now been confirmed.
It will no doubt have a divided opinion, but Phoenix has proven to be a more-than-capable actor when it comes to slipping into a role, so it’s safe to say that when it comes to playing the crown prince of crime, he is not going to hold back.
The behind-the-scenes credentials are just as interesting with Todd Phillips (The Hangover trilogy) at the helm and Martin Scorsese producing.
The latter might not have a lot of creative involvement, but there is still some reassurance seeing his name attached.
Phillips may be an odd choice considering his past work mainly consists of low-brow comedies, and as the film is going for a more gritty, realistic tone, it will be interesting to see what he does with the material.
Then again the Joker isn’t exactly high-brow when push comes to shove.
The other question many will be asking is, how well will this work if Batman himself isn’t involved?
Plot details are scarce at this time, but considering it’s been tapped as an ‘origin’ movie, the possibility of the Dark Knight showing up is questionable at best.
There is, of course, the other recent announcement of Jared Leto’s Joker getting his own film, and whilst his interpretation was regarded wholly as lukewarm at best, it begs the question of do we really need two standalone Joker films?
With the influx of superhero movies of late it looks like we don’t have a choice.
But maybe this is the kind of comicbook movie we need now.
Said to be set in the 80’s with a gritty gangster undertone, it sounds like the film is already setting itself apart from the rest of the herd.
So unless Joaquin Phoenix is after a big fat paycheck (which going by his track record seems unlikely), he obviously saw something in the material and interpretation of the character to sign on.
Even though Phoenix is very well regarded as an actor, the elephant in the room will always appear with Heath Ledger’s name firmly branded on its side.
And in some ways, rightfully so.
His performance set the bar for any further portrayals of the Joker, but if memory serves correct, his casting announcement was met with questionable doubt and backlash at the time as well.
We live in a time where even a casting announcement can make or break a film’s reputation without a single frame being shot.
So let’s hold off and see if Joaquin Phoenix can pull a Ledger out of the hat.