With incredibly big clown shoes to fill, Joaquin Phoenix is front and centre this fall in a portrayal that explores exactly how Gotham becomes home to one of the creepiest villains in comic book history.

While many still mourn for Heath Ledger and his awe-inspiring portrayal of the Joker in Batman’s The Dark Knight (2008), we’ll be treated to a movie focusing solely on the clown, answering a question that Batman fans have been wondering for 75+ years.

Who is the Joker?

Joaquin Phoenix has adamantly refused to don a superhero cape, but, perhaps fittingly for his wheel-house, Phoenix is set to explore the deeply-dark depths of the most celebrated supervillain.

Four years ago, Phoenix explained why we would never see him in the comic book hero scene, despite constant requests for his talent.

Phoenix was tagged to act out some heavy hitters for the big screen, including Marvel’s The Avengers as Bruce Banner, Doctor Strange as Doctor Strange, and Batman vs. Superman (as Batman maybe?).

I’ve flirted with several of those films, having meetings and getting close, but ultimately it never felt like they’d really be fulfilling. There were too many requirements that went against my instincts for character. I’ve been spoiled. I’ve never had to make those compromises. I’ve not met a director yet with one of those films where we go through the script, they say: ‘You know what, fuck this set-piece, let’s focus on the character!’ I understand, but it’s best I don’t do it.

Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix is the Joker 2019
See Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker: ‘Put On a Happy Face’
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Fan Reactions to Joker

Here’s what people are saying after discovering the teaser trailer for DC Comic’s Joker earlier today.


Are you putting on a happy face?

Joaquin Phoenix has joined an elite group of actors that could pull off various levels of crazy, from incorrigible, to downright savage.

Will you be first in line to discover the new Joker?

Celebrating Villainy

While witnessing the Joker’s origin story will undoubtedly be enlightening for those who’ve embraced and celebrated Batman lore; there is some trepidation of how this story will unfold.

This is not the first time that the Joker has been the centre of attention, and we’ve already discovered that sharing an admiration for a character that has stolen, manipulated, murdered, and possibly even raped is sketchy.

Especially when the #MeToo movement has so recently amassed solid strength on changing the status quo for gender equality across the globe, particularly in Hollywood.

The publication of this Joker variant cover for Batgirl #41, drawn by Rafael Albuquerque, as part of the 75th anniversary of Joker in 2015 never reached the shelves.

At the artist’s request, the print was cancelled once discovering that the Batgirl’s fanbase was notably upset.

Joker Batgirl Comic Cover Celebrating 75 Years of Joker
Cancelled Batgirl #41 variant cover, drawn by Rafael Albuquerque for Joker’s 75 Anniversary.

Considering there is a disturbing number of comic covers that depict the female form rather deplorably are published weekly, pulling this specific cover before it even reached the shelf is a testament of how poignant this reference to The Killing Joke was, and how irresponsible it would be to embrace the moment with a fanbase that was decidedly too young to have read that chilling story in the first place.

Telling Joker’s story will be akin to maintaining an erratic balance on a loose tight-rope for hours, over shark-jumping waters.

Did the producers, directors, cast and crew et al. behind Joker master the art of keeping the audience’s unwavering attention, while hopefully preserving discord for such a gross creature?

Join me in October to find out!

BTW, just discovered a comic panel that I need to find in print…