“[It’s] something that’s almost painful. I think for Joker it’s a part of him that wants to emerge. I think we all kind of assume what a Joker laugh is and it felt like a new, fresh way of looking at it.” – Joaquin Phoenix, Arthur Fleck
As the release of Todd Phillips’ Joker approaches, we’re learning more and more about what some critics are calling “an award contender,” due in no small part to three-time Academy Award nominee, Joaquin Phoenix’s turn as the frequent Batman foil.
When the 80-year-old jester made the leap from page to screen, as important as his look was, his page-filling laughter became iconic, as the likes of Romero, Hamill, and Ledger put their stamps on it. It is a tall order for any actor to have to follow those performances, but if the critical buzz is to be believed, the veteran actor is more than up to the task.
Related: Joker: Joaquin Phoenix Lost 52 Pounds To Play the Role, And Avoided Giving Joker A Mental Diagnosis
Phoenix discussed his turn as the clown prince of crime with Il Vernerdi and stated that the inspiration for his cackle came from people afflicted with pathological laughter.
“I saw videos showing people suffering from pathological laughter, a mental illness that makes mimicry uncontrollable,” Phoenix said of the laugh. Phillips expounded on this when speaking with THR and stated that the different modulations of the laughter went from trying to be “one of the guys” and then evolved into one of “authentic joy.”
The Gladiator actor spent several months developing his version of this laugh in seclusion, but knew that he needed to be able to do it on command. “I asked Todd to come over to audition my laugh. I felt like I had to be able to do it on the spot and in front of somebody else. It was really uncomfortable. It took me a long time.”
Once again, Warner Bros/DC may have put a Joker actor in the running for an award. General audiences will get to see next month whether or not the performance lives up to the hype.
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