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The Untold Truth Of Joaquin Phoenix's Joker Movie

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11:24   |   Apr 03, 2019

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The Untold Truth Of Joaquin Phoenix's Joker Movie
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  • Between the star-studded cast and a plot that sounds more like a dark character study than
  • your average superhero adventure, director Todd Phillips' take on the iconic villain
  • is one of the more highly anticipated movies of 2019.
  • Here's a look at the untold truth of Joaquin Phoenix's Joker.
  • As revealed by cast member Zazie Beetz, the movie was rewritten as it was filmed.
  • During an interview with MTV, Beetz went into detail about the filming process:
  • "We rewrote the whole thing while we were shooting it.
  • Literally, we would go into Todd's trailer and write the scene for the night and then
  • do it."
  • The frequent rewrites and reshoots suggest a much more improvisational approach than
  • most comic book movie directors take, which isn't necessarily a bad thing it implies that
  • the final product will be a more collaborative work incorporating ideas from the cast into
  • the director's vision.
  • Although Phillips' approach is unusual, it isn't without precedent.
  • Iron Man, for instance, was also written and further developed as it was filmed.
  • According to Jeff Bridges, who played antagonist Obadiah Stane, the entire project was based
  • around an outline.
  • Bridges and Robert Downey Jr. would improvise their way through scenes under the guidance
  • of director Jon Favreau in their trailers while the crew waited on the set.
  • If Iron Man was shot in such a loose manner and still turned out to be the smash hit that
  • launched the MCU, there's definitely hope for Joaquin Phoenix's Joker.
  • In a rather unexpected move, Warner Bros. brought on Todd Phillips as director, producer,
  • and co-writer for the film.
  • Although Phillips is a veteran filmmaker, he's best known for raunchy comedies such
  • as the Hangover trilogy, so it will be interesting to see how he fares creating a much darker
  • and more serious film.
  • The studio has promised Phoenix's Joker will be a gritty low-budget character study quite
  • a departure from the light-hearted slapstick comedies he's worked on before.
  • "Don't be afraid to ride the lightning"
  • “In the face, in the face, ha ha ha."
  • The closest that Phillips has come to working on this type of film before was when he wrote,
  • produced, and directed 2016's War Dogs.
  • Although that movie was an action comedy that touched on some darker elements of human nature,
  • it's already clear from the few glimpses we've had of Phoenix as the Joker that this new
  • project is going deeper and darker than any of Phillips' earlier features.
  • Joaquin Phoenix was a pretty major casting coup for Joker, but he isn't the only impressive
  • name going before the cameras for the film.
  • An equally unexpected addition: Robert De Niro, who's portraying a talk-show host who
  • plays a role in setting Joker down the path that turns him into the sociopathic clown
  • we all know and love to hate.
  • One of the reasons this role may have appealed to De Niro is because the script is reminiscent
  • of a movie he previously starred in, The King of Comedy.
  • In that film, De Niro played a mentally unhinged and wildly unsuccessful comedian who kidnaps
  • a talk show host in order to get his "big break."
  • This sounds eerily similar to the premise of the Joker origin movie, only Phoenix will
  • be playing the deranged aspiring comic and De Niro may be the one getting kidnapped this
  • time.
  • Marc Maron has also joined the cast as a talent agent who presumably works alongside De Niro's
  • character, and Zazie Beetz has also joined the cast as a single mother who catches the
  • Joker's eye.
  • Todd Phillips elected to film on location in New York, which meant seemingly anyone
  • with a camera in the Big Apple took a shot at trying to snap photos of Phoenix and his
  • co-stars in costume.
  • Phillips found himself becoming increasingly annoyed by the paparazzi taking grainy photos
  • from whatever long-distance angle they could muster, so he decided to cut out the middleman
  • and put out several high-quality photos himself.
  • When a few fans commented that they were seeing too much of the movie before it was even released,
  • Phillips responded and explained his reasoning behind releasing the images:
  • "We have paparazzi all over our set, at every turn.
  • And it bums me out that they constantly put out their bad shots.
  • So I figure, may as well put out some good ones."
  • Jared Leto is still slated to star in his own standalone Joker film despite the backlash
  • over his first appearance as the character in Suicide Squad, which means there will be
  • two different iterations of the villain on screens around roughly the same time.
  • It's unusual for a studio to pit actors against each other this way, but there's a twist:
  • they might not be the same Joker.
  • Phoenix is in his mid-40s, which means Joaquin's Joker will be already be approaching middle
  • age when this origin story unfolds.
  • Since it's been confirmed that Bruce Wayne's father will play a role in the film, this
  • suggests Phillips' story takes place when Bruce himself is still just a child.
  • This age difference is important to note because by the time Bruce Wayne would be old enough
  • to start patrolling the streets of Gotham as Batman, Joaquin's Joker would be something
  • like 60 or 70.
  • Since Batman and Joker are typically assumed to be around the same age, some fans have
  • suggested that Joaquin's iteration of the character might serve as inspiration for the
  • Joker that Batman faces later on.
  • Despite being nominated for three Oscars, Joaquin Phoenix found himself thoroughly intimidated
  • by the idea of playing the Joker which is one of the main reasons he ultimately ended
  • up signing on for the project.
  • Even though Phoenix has a wide variety of experience, playing everything from a famous
  • musician to a paranoid emperor in past roles, he admitted to being terrified by the idea
  • of portraying one of the most iconic villains of all time.
  • "Rah!"
  • This isn't the first time Phoenix has contemplated playing a comic book character, as he was
  • one of the main actors being considered for the role of Doctor Strange.
  • He ended up passing on the role, saying he was worried that a blockbuster film run by
  • a huge studio would restrict his freedom as an actor which suggests this Joker will be
  • a one-and-done deal for its star.
  • Another reason Phoenix ended up agreeing to star in Joker was the fact that he quickly
  • became enthralled with Phillips' vision of a completely new take on a familiar comic
  • book villain.
  • Since there have been so many different iterations of the Joker over the years, some critics
  • were wary of yet another one on the big screen.
  • We've even seen several versions of the Joker's origin story.
  • But Phoenix remains optimistic about the project because it's unlike any other version of the
  • Joker audiences have seen before.
  • He said:
  • "I wouldn't quite classify this as like any genre.
  • I wouldn't say it's a superhero movie, or a studio movie.
  • It feels unique, and I think more than anything, and probably the most important thing, is
  • Todd seems very passionate about it and very giving, so that's exciting."
  • Without the presence of Batman or other widely known comic book characters besides the Joker
  • himself, this film is already headed in a very different direction and we haven't even
  • seen what else Phillips might have up his sleeve.
  • The first images of Phoenix in costume revealed the grubby makeup he would be wearing as the
  • Joker, and offered some insight into some of the inspirations for this version of the
  • Clown Prince of Crime.
  • Although at first glance the makeup design definitely seems reminiscent of Heath Ledger's
  • Joker, upon further examination it also seems to draw inspiration from several other sources.
  • The color palette used certainly seems inspired by the makeup worn by John Wayne Gacy, a serial
  • killer in the '70s who worked as a clown at parties and events.
  • Gacy's clown makeup also incorporated the wide red mouth and high blue eye paint that
  • appears on Phoenix.
  • The bright blue makeup around the eyes also seems to be a nod to the look that the Joker
  • had in some of the older Batman comics, such as "The Laughing Fish" and "Sign of the Joker."
  • Making movies might seem glamorous, but those days on the set can be long and difficult.
  • According to TMZ, conditions on Joker took a turn for the worse in October 2018 when
  • the cast was filming on location in a Brooklyn subway station.
  • Apparently, a group of extras were actually locked inside a subway car for hours.
  • Since they'd been locked inside the train car for so long that they needed to use the
  • bathroom, some extras resorted to urinating on the train tracks between cars just to finally
  • get some relief.
  • Upon receiving complaints about the incident, the Screen Actors Guild sent a representative
  • to handle the situation and monitor Phillips' set for the rest of the shoot.
  • In interviews, Joaquin Phoenix has suggested that Joker won't be the typical adrenaline-spiking,
  • CGI-filled action film that DC and Marvel fans are accustomed to.
  • Instead, the studio plans to deliver a low-budget character study.
  • As it turns out, Phoenix had actually discussed a similar idea several years before he heard
  • a Joker origin movie was in the works.
  • "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?'"
  • Although Phoenix's agent tried to convince him to attend a general meeting with Warner
  • Bros. after this talk, Phoenix dismissed the idea.
  • He even forgot about the entire concept until he heard about Phillips' film and realized
  • it was exactly the type of role he'd been imagining.
  • Based on the brief descriptions of the script, cast, and some set photos, there's ample speculation
  • that Joker will be taking inspiration from a comic considered one of the greatest Joker
  • stories of all time: The Killing Joke.
  • Although it won't be a direct adaptation, several core elements from the comic's storyline
  • could be carried over.
  • Written by Alan Moore, it's one of the best and most widely acclaimed Joker stories, and
  • the beginning sounds very similar to the premise of Joaquin Phoenix's Joker.
  • Just like Phoenix's character Arthur Fleck, the Joker in The Killing Joke started out
  • as a failed and frustrated stand-up comedian.
  • "You got a funny shaped head.“
  • “Maybe I should have been a clown instead of a comedian."
  • As the story progresses, he's transformed into the Joker in an accident after getting
  • involved in a robbery with some shady characters in order to support his pregnant wife.
  • Given that Zazie Beetz is playing a single mother who Phoenix's character falls for,
  • it stands to reason that this Joker might also start down a dark path in an attempt
  • to provide for a woman and her child.
  • Another Killing Joke connection comes from some of the first set pictures, which show
  • an area that resembles Amusement Mile a section of Gotham City that appears in the comic.
  • Phoenix has gained a reputation for undergoing dramatic transformations, such as when he
  • played Johnny Cash in Walk the Line or Jesus Christ in Mary Magdalene.
  • When preparing for his role as the Joker, he once again faced a physical challenge.
  • In order to emulate the traditionally scrawny villain, the actor had to slim down considerably.
  • Joker co-star Zazie Beetz revealed that Phoenix's weight loss was so significant that it actually
  • limited the potential for reshoots after the production completed filming.
  • "We had to do everything then because Joaquin had lost so much weight that we couldn't do
  • reshoots later on."
  • Even though drastic physical transformations can take a serious toll on an actor's health,
  • it comes as no surprise that a performer so legendarily dedicated to his craft would go
  • above and beyond to completely transform into his character.
  • Check out one of our newest videos right here!
  • Plus, even more Looper videos about all things DC are coming soon.
  • Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the bell so you don't miss a single one.

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Between the star-studded cast and a plot that sounds more like a dark character study than your average superhero adventure, director Todd Phillips' take on the iconic villain is one of the more highly anticipated movies of 2019. Here's a look at the untold truth of Joaquin Phoenix's Joker.

As revealed by cast member Zazie Beetz, the movie was rewritten as it was filmed. During an interview with MTV, Beetz went into detail about the filming process:

The frequent rewrites and reshoots suggest a much more improvisational approach than most comic book movie directors take, which isn't necessarily a bad thing it implies that the final product will be a more collaborative work incorporating ideas from the cast into the director's vision.

Although Phillips' approach is unusual, it isn't without precedent. Iron Man, for instance, was also written and further developed as it was filmed. According to Jeff Bridges, who played antagonist Obadiah Stane, the entire project was based around an outline. Bridges and Robert Downey Jr. would improvise their way through scenes under the guidance of director Jon Favreau in their trailers while the crew waited on the set.

If Iron Man was shot in such a loose manner and still turned out to be the smash hit that launched the MCU, there's definitely hope for Joaquin Phoenix's Joker.

In a rather unexpected move, Warner Bros. brought on Todd Phillips as director, producer, and co-writer for the film. Although Phillips is a veteran filmmaker, he's best known for raunchy comedies such as the Hangover trilogy, so it will be interesting to see how he fares creating a much darker and more serious film. The studio has promised Phoenix's Joker will be a gritty low-budget character study quite a departure from the light-hearted slapstick comedies he's worked on before.

The closest that Phillips has come to working on this type of film before was when he wrote, produced, and directed 2016's War Dogs. Although that movie was an action comedy that touched on some darker elements of human nature, it's already clear from the few glimpses we've had of Phoenix as the Joker that this new project is going deeper and darker than any of Phillips' earlier features.

Joaquin Phoenix was a pretty major casting coup for Joker, but he isn't the only impressive name going before the cameras for the film. An equally unexpected addition: Robert De Niro, who's portraying a talk-show host who plays a role in setting Joker down the path that turns him into the sociopathic clown we all know and love to hate. One of the reasons this role may have appealed to De Niro is because the script is reminiscent of a movie he previously starred in, The King of Comedy.

In that film, De Niro played a mentally unhinged and wildly unsuccessful comedian who kidnaps a talk show host in order to get his "big break." This sounds eerily similar to the premise of the Joker origin movie, only Phoenix will be playing the deranged aspiring comic and De Niro may be the one getting kidnapped this time. Marc Maron has also joined the cast as a talent agent who presumably works alongside De Niro's character, and Zazie Beetz has also joined the cast as a single mother who catches the Joker's eye. Keep watching the video to see the rest of the untold truth of Joaquin Phoenix's Joker movie!

A changing script | #
A surprising director | #
Heavy hitters | #
Paparazzi problems | #
Which Joker will this be? | #
A frightened Phoenix | #
Undefinable | #
Making it up | #
Urine big trouble | #
Not your average superhero movie | #
Killer inspiration | #
No laughing matter | #

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