You wanna know how the Joker got his scars? Or at the very least, why he’s a psychotic criminal clown who never takes off his makeup? You’ll surely find the answer to at least one of those questions in next year’s Joker origin movie, in which Joaquin Phoenix will portray Batman’s most famous foe in his early years as a struggling comic. As a work that exists separately from the DCEU, where Jared Leto is set to continue his run as the Clown Prince of Crime, this is definitely one of the more unusual comic book movies scheduled for a 2019 release, but surely the film’s esteemed lead can bring something interesting to the table.
For a first look at Phoenix in action, we offer this newly released set footage, in which the star can be witnessed engaging in an altercation on the streets of 1980s Gotham City. Though his character Arthur Fleck is not yet donning the Joker’s trademark makeup in the footage, the clown element of his arc is already foreshadowed via both the merry-go-round in the background and the red-nosed funny man who confronts him.
Better yet, we can see Arthur’s penchant for mischief and perhaps his deranged mindset in Phoenix’s performance. Though the clown’s initially a little aggressive in their exchange, it looks like something Arthur says gets his white-faced co-star to stand down. What’s more, by the end of their conversation, the future Joker even has the nerve to take the clown’s red nose right off his face and gleefully roll it down the road. A little mean, perhaps, but we can likely assume that he does much worse in the upcoming movie.
While this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Arthur sans makeup, or even Phoenix’s devilish smile, we’ve yet to get a good look at the character in full Joker mode. Nonetheless, we’ll have plenty of time to learn more about this curious project before the movie hits theaters on October 4th, 2019.