The movie, made inexpensively under the lens of director Todd Phillips (The Hangover) and featuring Joaquin Phoenix in the title role, is a grimy, ’80s-set origin story that has drawn comparisons to Taxi Driver, a movie directed by Joker producer Martin Scorcese.
While some people are quick to call Joker a superhero film, Phoenix stressed caution and said it’s anything but.
“I wouldn’t quite classify this as like any genre,” Phoenix said in a recent interview with Collider. “I wouldn’t say it’s a superhero movie, or a studio movie or a … It feels unique, and I think more then anything, and probably the most important thing, is Todd seems very passionate about it and very giving, and so that’s exciting. I think, underneath the excitement of these films, and the size of them, there are these incredible characters that are dealing with real life struggles. And sometimes that is uncovered and exposed, and sometimes it isn’t, and so I always felt, like, there were characters in comics that were really interesting and deserve the opportunity to be kind of studied. And so I think that’s what Todd sees appealing about this idea.”
Some people have questioned the need for a Joker spinoff movie, or even why Phoenix would agree to fulfill such a role. But the actor is simply following in the footsteps of legends such as Heath Ledger, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Hamill.
“I take a lot of time and consideration when making decisions and what I’m gonna work on, always.” Phoenix added. “So, in some ways, the process, which is obviously reading a script and meeting a filmmaker and then continuing to have meetings and discussions with Todd [Phillips]. I think he’s very impressive and he seems to have a very interesting understanding of this world and what he’s trying to say. And so there is something very appealing about that and working with him on this particular project. It feels unique, it is its own world in some ways, and maybe, mostly, it scares the f-cking sh-t out of me or something. It might as well be the thing that scares you the most.”
Joker premieres in theaters on October 4, 2019.