Christian Bale Says It’s Brave For Joaquin Phoenix To Follow Heath Ledger’s Joker

Heath Ledger Joker

It’s no secret that Heath Ledger’s award-winning performance in The Dark Knight is one of the most iconic movie moments in recent memory. Following up that legendary portrayal of the evil Clown Prince is undoubtedly difficult, though. Just ask Jared Leto. Still, Joaquin Phoenix seems like he may be up for the task, as reviews pouring in from the premiere of Joker have been largely positive thus far, with many praising the lead actor.

Christian Bale was lucky enough to get a front row seat to Ledger’s career-defining take on the infamous character when he played Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and in a recent interview, the Academy Award winner shared his thoughts about the upcoming origin story, saying the following:

“Joaquin is one of the best actors around, you know, and obviously I worked with Heath… You know, it’s a brave thing to follow up that performance and he always makes interesting choices… Dying to see it… I wish them the best with that.”

Taking on the part that Ledger mastered will always be a tall order for any performer, but Phoenix seems like he may have done the character justice. Already, he’s being touted as a potential Oscar nominee due to what some are calling the “best performance of his career” in the titular role.

Others are favorably comparing the flick to The Dark Knight, for which Ledger won his Academy Award, and it’s entirely possible that Phoenix can now do the same. A nomination would be the fourth of the actor’s career and if he can somehow walk away with the golden statue, it’ll be his first win.

In any case, if Phoenix can come even close to what his predecessor did onscreen a decade ago, there will certainly be some well-deserved buzz surrounding him. If not, then he’ll have some very angry fans to deal with after opening weekend. Either way, we’ll find out which way things are going to go when Joker hits theaters on October 4th.