Anticipation for the film has been enormous, as fans of The Dark Knight and the late Heath Ledger have been eager to see how Joaquin Phoenix’s interpretation of the Joker stacks up against Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance. But so far, reactions to the new trailer from fans and critics alike seems to be mostly positive.
Although Phoenix is aware of the pressure surrounding his performance, he appears to be wholly unfazed by it.
“I could care less,” he said in an interview with IndieWire. “I don’t really think that much about what people think. Who cares, who cares? My approach to every movie is the same. What I’m interested in is the filmmaker and the idea of the character.”
In regards to the number of different takes on the villain there have been to date, Phoenix said, “Maybe it’s like doing a play, like you always hear about people doing something, ‘You should have seen this actor in this performance,’ but then other actors do it and it’s a different kind of film. I think that genre, comic books, kind of lends itself to having different people play the same character and interpret it in a different way. It’s kind of built into the source material in some ways. I think it’s cool when people do that.”
The trailer, eerily juxtaposed with Jimmy Durante‘s “Smile,” is chock-full of alarming and memorable imagery, from the Joker giving his mother a bath and twirling her around the living room, to an unknown patient violently thrashing around on a gurney, to Phoenix’s disturbingly contorting his emaciated torso. There’s a preview of Phoenix’s take on the legendary Joker laugh as well as a dramatic reveal of the iconic costume. Some think one scene where the Joker dances down a flight of stairs may even be a potential tribute to Heath Ledger’s character in the 1999 teen film 10 Things I Hate About You.
“I used to think that my life was a tragedy,” mutters Phoenix’s Joker in a voice-over, “but now I realize it’s a comedy.”
The film is set to be released on October 4, 2019, and it looks to be a suitably creepy movie for Halloween.