Joaquin Phoenix reveals how he created his laugh for Joker, and the inspiration he drew from. Warner Bros. and DC Films are stepping outside of their shared universe to bring a different type of movie based on comic book characters to the screen. Joker will be an origin story for the Clown Prince of Crime, with Phoenix portraying the iconic Batman foe.
Joker is written and directed by Todd Phillips, who's been allowed to take liberties with the character thanks to the film's standalone status. He isn't changing everything about the character though, with the clown makeup and a maniacal laugh being examples of sticking to the source material. Early looks at Phoenix in the makeup started to get people excited for Joker, but it was the release of the first trailer that really sparked interest. One of the highlights of it was finally getting to hear Phoenix's version of a Joker laugh. After hearing his chilling take, Phoenix is now revealing how he created it.
During an interview with the Italian magazine Il Venerdi, Phoenix explained where he got his Joker laugh from. It was one of the first aspects of the character that Phoenix wanted to figure out and perfect, and the hunt for his laugh brought him to real world influences. After being translated back into English (via CBR), here is what Phoenix said: "I watched videos of people suffering from pathological laughter, a neurological disorder that makes individuals laugh uncontrollably."
Phoenix noticeably transformed his body to play the skinny Joker, but now we know the lengths he went through to nail his personality and characteristics. It isn't clear this real world inspiration for Joker's laugh means that he also has the pathological laughter disorder in the movie though. Either way, Phoenix using uncontrollable laughter as the root of his Joker laugh does fit, and may explain why it's so effective. If nothing else, Phoenix's ability to use this to create his version of Joker could add another layer of realism to it and Joker as a whole, which is certainly something the film is striving for with its look, tone, and story.
While Joker has been the subject of plenty of debate over the film's script, the one aspect of it that is almost universally anticipated is Phoenix's performance. This interview comes as Joker is gearing up for its world premiere on the festival circuit. The movie will debut at the 2019 Venice Film Festival on August 31, and then also play at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival in September. Many believe that this rollout ahead of the film's theatrical release in October gives Joker a chance to be in the awards conversation for the next several months, with Phoenix's performance expected to be the biggest takeaway. But, with the movie projected to open big as well, Joker could be a movie that performs very well at the box office and garners awards attention.
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- The Batman (2021) release date: Jun 25, 2021
- The Suicide Squad (2021) release date: Aug 06, 2021
- DC Super Pets (2022) release date: May 20, 2022
- Aquaman 2 (2022) release date: Dec 16, 2022