The highly anticipated comic book movie centered around the iconic Batman villain, Joker, is finally approaching release. Audiences are looking forward the new film, especially to witness how a prestigious actor like Joaquin Phoenix will put his personal spin on the character. In a recent interview with the Italian Magazine, Il Vernerdi, Phoenix dived into what helped him prepped for this high profile role.
One of the main types of videos Phoenix has watched to prep him for becoming the evil clown are of victims of PLC (Pathological Laughter or Crying). Pathological laughter is an illness that causes people to involuntary laugh with no conventional trigger. Considering the film’s more psychological and realistic tone compared to other adaptations of the character, Phoenix taking inspiration from real life medical conditions makes perfect sense. The pathological laughter element is definitely differentiating this version of the Joker from past incarnations, since the character’s laugh is often the most iconic part of the role. This gritty direction was also influenced by the works of Martin Scorsese, most particular Taxi Driver, and Phoenix’s studying of mental patients was most likely encouraged by director Todd Philips.
This is not the first time an actor playing the Joker did some extensive research to get into character. Heath Ledger, who played the character in The Dark Knight, used method acting for the role. Ledger did this by isolating himself from others, often improvising various moments through out the film and was rarely out of character during filming of the movie. The most recent actor to portray the Joker on film, Jared Leto, also did some method acting which included sending various “gifts” to his other co-stars of Suicide Squad such as used condoms and dead animals. Unlike Ledger’s method acting however, this wasn’t as well received and was perceived as more of a stunt tactic.
Phoenix’s methods on perfecting the role is certainly nothing new in terms of playing as the Joker, but the dedication he has for making sure this film will have a more unique take on the character is definitely admirable. It’s only a matter of time until fans witness the outcome of Phoenix’s work.
Joker is set for release on October 4th, 2019.