Joaquin Phoenix is following in the footsteps of Heath Ledger and Jared Leto in making an astonishing physical transformation to play the Clown Prince of Crime in Todd Phillips’ upcoming Joker movie.
Joker, which is currently set for release late next year, will tell the origin story of Batman’s most formidable foe. The film will star Robert De Niro and Deadpool 2’s Zazie Beetz, but Phoenix will be the poster boy in the role of Joker – and it appears he’s not taking the responsibility lightly.
Pictures have emerged from the Toronto Film Festival of a dramatically slimmer Phoenix, who was last seen on UK screens as a bulky, bearded hitman in Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here.
Fans of the actor have remarked upon Phoenix’s new resemblance to long-time Joker dream-cast Willem Dafoe, while comic book acolytes have observed that Phoenix looks strikingly similar to the DC comics portrayal of the Joker.
This isn’t the first time Phoenix has dramatically transformed his body for a role. In 2012’s The Master, he played an emaciated WWII veteran, shedding the pounds after playing an out-of-shape parody of himself in 2010’s I’m Still Here.
Joker will be the first ever standalone movie centred on DC’s most famous supervillain. It’s also set to be Warner Bros’ eighth entry in its struggling DC Extended Universe franchise.
The studio will be hoping Phoenix and director Phillips’ dedication to the reportedly R-rated, Martin Scorsese-produced Joker movie will pay off. Fans are hoping the film’s modest (for a superhero movie, that is) budget of $55 million will allow Phoenix and Phillips the freedom to make a more adult-oriented superhero pic in the vein of Deadpool and Logan.