Following the announcement yesterday that Joaquin Phoenix is now locked to play The Joker in the Todd Phillips-directed standalone film about the famed Batman villain, the actor has now spoken about his decision to take on the project.
Talking with Collider to promote “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot” this week, he revealed that several years ago he called his agent and pondered why they don’t take a character or two from these comic book properties and: “just make a lower budget film about it, a movie but a character study, and why not take one of the villains”. He then says he forgot all about it until talk of this film came up and admits he’s nervous to take on such an iconic character:
“I take a lot of time and consideration when making decisions and what I’m gonna work on always. 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–king s–t out of me or something. It might as well be the thing that scares you the most.
I wouldn’t quite classify this as like any genre. 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.”
The new film is said to have a budget of around $55 million and the official synopsis describes it as: “an exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.” Phillips co-wrote the script with Scott Silver with filming to begin in September.