For those of a certain age, the Joker leaped from ink-on-paper to a TV screen, played by Cesar Romero. Close to menacing but more comedic and sanitized in the 1960s, the criminal clown-like character would return to being the diabolically sinister, villainous and sadistic jester with a deranged sense of humor. And now, with the film ‘Joker’ a reality, the latter is how fans hope to see the character.
Batman’s Arch-Enemy is a Super Villain Sans Super Powers
Unless one consider’s original Joker’s mad-scientist chemical-concoctions-as-weapons — his comic book origin story was he was dropped in a vat of a toxic chemicals which blanched his skin and disfigured his face — Joker’s evil power comes from a psychopathic affect; he’s mad and deadly dangerous, or at least that’s what is expected of him.
But what writer-director Todd Philips is doing with the character specifically is as of yet not fully known. He’s written, and is now directing, his Joker origin story. What we do now know is Joker’s name: Arthur. Arthur Fleck.
Phillips Began Filming ‘Joker’ in New York in Early September
Phillips had teased the Arthur character in an initial reveal on Instagram.
But then Friday added the camera test with actor Joaquin Phoenix, cast as Arthur Fleck/Joker.
In the clip, viewers catch Fleck transform from man to maniac. It’s not clear if this imagery is representative of the final Joker look especially since this is a “camera test,” but some on Twitter were unimpressed with a simply makeup-clad Joker. Tens of thousands on both social platforms though were already in love. Recall the original inspiration for the Joker by artists and writers Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson: a combination of a Joker found on a playing card as imaged with the face of actor Conrad Veidt from ‘The Man Who Laughs” film of 1928.
Fans are at once psyched and creeped-out, in a good way, by the metamorphosis from regular, albeit odd-looking dude guy Fleck (Phoenix), to a lunatic jester in stage makeup. Plus, the Guess Who’s “Laughing,” track playing (1969, young ‘uns) is disquieting somehow.
“I should laugh, but I cry
Because your love has passed me by
You took me by surprisT
You didn’t realize but I was waiting.”
It’s all weird, maybe unsettling, but not sure it’s scary. Yet.
We’ll see in a year. Meanwhile, the Instagram video loops, you know.
A Re-envisioned Joker Doesn’t Mean Heath Ledger’s, Jack Nicholson’s or even Romero’s Will be Forgotten
Hearts are still broken over this loss.
Still, ‘Joker’ will be fully reinvented, re-birthed, and revealed character and fans and stans are already counting the days. With Martin Scorsese on board as producer, the film is scheduled for a October 2019 release.
Just a year away people.