Joaquin Phoenix In His Joker Makeup Is Somehow Even Creepier Than Heath Ledger

Photo: Francois G. Durand/WireImage/Getty Images.
Another version of the Joker is coming to the big screen, and we just got our very first, exceedingly creepy look.
In 2008, late star Heath Ledger gave an Oscar-winning performance as infamous Batman villain the Joker in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight. His version of the Joker was an agent of chaos in messy white makeup. In 2016's Suicide Squad, Jared Leto took on the role: adorned with oodles of tattoos, Leto gave a very punk rock portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime. The stark differences in the style of the same villain has had many fans wonder which direction Joaquin Phoenix's will go in upcoming Todd Phillips movie. Now, thanks to a new teaser from Warner Bros., we know.
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Unlike Suicide Squad, which looked like it was ripped from the pages of a comic book, Phillips' movie — to be produced by Martin Scorsese —is set to evoke the mood of movies like Taxi Driver. It will be a standalone origin story that does not connect to the films currently in the DCU. (Leto will reportedly appear in more movies in the Suicide Squad timeline, including the film's sequel and a Harley Quinn-centric spin-off.)
It makes sense, then, that Phoenix's portrayal would be a bit more grounded than the ones found in big, high-concept movies like The Dark Knight and Suicide Squad. Here, in Phillips' "screen test," Phoenix stands as a normal guy in a brown jacket, as flashes of a man in clown makeup float over his face. At the end of the clip, the Joker finally steps into the spotlight: He smiles in full-blown clown face paint... until his smile creepily drops.
Will the upcoming Joker film be the thing that finally earns Phoenix his Oscar? It's certainly a meaty character to explore, and already earned one actor a (posthumous, unfortunately) Academy Award. One thing is clear: This isn't some carbon-copy Joker, but someone very different — and very, very unsettling.
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