The Joker film could very well cross over into the horror genre, judging from a tease director Todd Phillips shared on Friday
The short Instagram video begins with Joaquin Phoenix in his plainclothes character as the DC Comics villain — aka Arthur Fleck — gazing into the camera lens.
Building on last weekend’s headshot tease, the so-called camera test is set to the haunting tune of the Guess Who’s Laughing. While the music plays, Arthur’s mouth eventually ticks into a smile and Phillips’ take on the Joker’s iconic disguise is projected across the actor’s face.
The clown-like makeup and the clip’s abrupt finish perhaps set the tone for Warner Bros standalone origin film, which is believed to be about the Batman foe’s failed attempt at a career in comedy that leads him to a life of crime.
Phoenix is the latest actor to take on the deranged villain’s role: Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and, most recently, Jared Leto have famously played the Gotham City baddie, among others. Leto, who played the character in Suicide Squad, is still slated to reprise the role in a separate standalone project for the DC Extended Universe.
Phillips’ take on the villain is not expected to be in continuity with that storyline, which has been building and spinning off Warner Bros’ current iteration of the Justice League franchise.
Joker is expected to open in US theatres on October 4, 2019. Martin Scorsese is executive producing the film, which also stars Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy and Marc Maron.