Joaquin Phoenix on Crafting Joker’s "Creepy" Look

October 4th, 2019Joaquin Phoenix on Crafting Joker’s "Creepy" Look

It’s one of the most important aspects of any portrayal of DC’s iconic villain, the Joker. How will you choose to present his makeup? Jack Nicholson opted for a theatrical stage presence to his makeup. Heath Ledger chose a messier, self-applied technique that fed into his Joker’s unpredictable lunacy. And Jared Leto sported a street-smart, tattooed gangster approach, which fit seamlessly into David Ayer’s vision for SUICIDE SQUAD.

Now, we have Joaquin Phoenix playing the celebrated Clown Prince in Todd Phillips’ JOKER, in theatres now. And his look is decidedly different from anyone who came before him. In a recent interview with CinemaBlend, Phoenix opened up about the process of finding his facial appearances, and here’s what he had to say about how he and Phillips landed on a look.

“Honestly, Todd sent me a Photoshopped photo of me from another film with the makeup on and it was already designed, and he said, ‘What do you think? Do you have any notes?’ And I was like, ‘It’s [freaking] great!’ I wouldn't know what to say,” Phoenix said. “The only input that I had was I had started practicing putting the makeup on by myself. And when I put all the white paint on, I thought there was something really haunting and unsettling about that look. And so initially, in one of the end scenes, I was initially meant to be in kind of the full Joker makeup. But I just thought it might be interesting if we just did the kind of white painted face. There's something really creepy about that look.”

The Joker, by design, is supposed to be a dangerous character. Trying to understand his motives and actions dumbfounds anyone with rational thought. So, making him more than a little creepy is just fine with us. This guy is meant to be a threat. And in a version of Gotham City that doesn’t yet have a Batman, that leads to terrifying thoughts.

At the same time, JOKER director Todd Phillips knows the importance of Joker’s look to the success of his film — which is why the image of Phoenix in his face paint was the first marketing image that Phillips posted on his Instagram account, to let DC fans know what their cherished villain would look like.

Remember this?

The creation of Joker’s look is very important to the JOKER film, and you will be able to see for yourself why now that Todd Phillips’ new movie has reached theatres. Do you have your JOKER tickets yet?

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