In much the same way everyone has a favourite Batman, they have a favourite Joker too.
There have been some excellent portrayals of the grinning sociopath with Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and even Zach Galifianakis in The LEGO Batman Movie having given stellar performances. And Jared Leto definitely displayed the psychotic side of him to a tee.
Now, it looks like there is a new Crown Prince Of Crime in town. Actor Joaquin Phoenix is all set to play the lead role in the next Joker film.
Directed by Todd Phillips, the film will be released on October 4 but will be shown at the Venice Film Festival later this month, prompting speculation that Phoenix might well be a contender to take the Best Actor award at the 2020 Oscars.
In fact, the actor is currently the bookies’ favourite to claim the gong, with odds of 9/4. According to The Independent, he’s up alongside Tom Hanks, who has odds of 3/1 for his role as Mr Rogers in A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood, Taron Egerton, who has been given a 10/3 chance for his portrayal of Elton John in Rocketman and Antonio Banderas who has 7/2 odds for his role in Pain And Glory.
Interestingly and unusually – and probably much to the disgust of hardcore DC fans – Joker pays next to no attention to the (admittedly numerous) origin stories of the comic books.
It’s a decision that Phillips has preemptively defended. In an interview with Empire magazine, he said, “We didn’t follow anything from the comic-books, which people are gonna be mad about. We just wrote our own version of where a guy like Joker might come from. That’s what was interesting to me. We’re not even doing Joker, but the story of becoming Joker. It’s about this man.”
The Joker sees Phoenix star as Arthur Fleck, a failed stand-up comedian who becomes a psychopathic criminal mastermind after going insane. He becomes the titular criminal who commits atrocities in Gotham City.
Previously, DC’s biggest villain, who was portrayed by Heath Ledger in Christopher Nolan’s second installment of the Batman trilogy, bagged an Oscar in 2009.
The 28-year-old star, who died from an accidental drug overdose in January 2008, was only the second actor to receive a posthumous Oscar after British-born Australian Peter Finch won for Network in 1976.
Ledger had already bagged a clutch of industry honours, including a Bafta, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award, for his lauded performance in the Christopher Nolan-director comic book film and an Oscar win was considered almost a given ahead of Sunday’s ceremony.
The award was accepted by Ledger’s parents and his sister. Kim Ledger, the actor’s father, thanked the Academy and British filmmaker Nolan for “allowing Heath the creative licence to develop and explore this crazy joker character”.
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