(NEW YORK) — Days after director Todd Phillips posted some very creepy test footage of Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker, comes leaked footage of the actor at work as the Clown Prince of Crime.
The footage, posted by TMZ, shows Joker striding off of a New York — or Gotham City — subway car, peeling off a plastic mask to reveal a painted face beneath. In his wake is pandemonium: A businessman is pulled from the car and beaten by folks in street clothes and Joker acolytes in masks hold any good Samaritans at bay. One goon holds an “Eat the Rich” poster, possibly betraying what makes this version of the villain tick.
Like the test footage, Phillips seems to be giving a nod to Caesar Romero’s original Joker get-up, with Phoenix dressed in a green shirt under an orange vest and a maroon suit, but also to the general creepiness of clowns. Whether it’s the John Wayne Gacy effect or that of Pennywise from It, Phoenix’s Joker looks scary enough just wearing traditional clown face paint to give him his murderous grin. Both Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger also used facial make-up to compliment their look.
And while Phoenix recently claimed to IndieWire that he didn’t care what people thought of him playing the Batman villain, fan reaction online seems to tilt in his favor — certainly better than that of Jared Leto’s tattooed, grill-sporting Joker from Suicide Squad. Even director David Ayer now admits he might have gone too far with Leto’s look.
We’ll see if Phoenix’s approach pays off when Joker, which might also star Robert De Niro, hits theaters October 4, 2019.
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