Todd Phillips just released a makeup test via Instagram of Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker! And it’s rather disturbing! In the highly anticipated DC film, which is currently in production, Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck, a failed stand-up comedian who goes on a psychopathic rampage which eventually pits him in a life-or-death struggle with the Batman himself.

The story, the plot, and the details of the film are on the hush-hush, but if the Instagram post is any indication, horror and thriller fans could be in for a Mister Toad’s-style wild ride. The clip is made all the more sinister as it features the beguiling and mesmerizing track “Laughing” by The Guess Who.

“I should laugh, but I cry because your love has passed me by, you took me by surprise, I didn’t realize that you were laughing…”


Comic Book aficionados and those of the superhero universe are split over the recent news. For the devotees who believe Heath Ledger is the be-all and end-all of the Joker character, Arthur Fleck is nothing short of blasphemy–an affront to the memory and legacy of the one-and-only Joker. For others, the combination of Todd Phillips’ wicked directing style and the classic, Pagliacci-inspired makeup is something to celebrate and to make 2019 a year to remember. There are those who point out that Heath Ledger so immersed himself in the role that it drove him crazy and led to his early demise. This kind of performance, they argue, can never be duplicated or even challenged, and to do so is destined for failure. That may be true, but Joaquin Phoenix seems kind of crazy his damn self; see I’m Still Here. So who knows where this role could take the Walk the Line, Her, and The Master star. Besides, he admits, the role scares himHe said that an actor’s next project “might as well be the thing that scares you the most.”

It has been argued that Todd Phillips has directed and/or produced some of modern cinema’s most memorable and influential comedies. Who could forget Frank “The Tank” in Old School shooting himself with a tranquilizer gun and wrecking a four year old’s birthday party? Or the mentally and emotionally challenged Alan Garner played by Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover partying hardy with an infant strapped to his belly? Or how about the juvenile nihilism and unconscionable mayhem of Project X? Todd can certainly spin an ordinary tale down a rabbit hole of lunacy and madness. So who better to actualize the Joker as a real person careening headlong into carnage and chaos?

However, there is a concern that the character of the Joker is so fascinating precisely because we don’t know much of his backstory. Is he an abused and abandoned child? Is he an escapee of a mental institution? Did a life of crime eventually lead him to paint his face red, white, and blue and commit crimes no sane man would ever contemplate? Did he suffer some kind of chemical or industrial accident? Up until now, the Joker’s character was seen primarily in relation to his interaction with the Batman; but now, for better or worse, the demented clown is taking center stage. It’s always a trick pulling back the curtain on archetypal villains as the mystery can be more intriguing than reality.

Nonetheless, Joker is coming to a theatre near you starting October 4, 2019–and there’s nothing you can do about it!

What do you think of Todd Phillips’ Instagram clip? Is it inspired dementia or rank commercialism? Please share and please don’t be cruel; leave that to the Joker!