We’re nothing if not intrigued by everything we’re hearing about Todd Phillips’ origin story for Batman’s arch-nemesis, Joker. Starring Joaquin Phoenix as Gotham City’s “Clown Prince of Crime”, we’ve been told to expect a gritty, character-driven flick that will differentiate itself from the glut of superhero (and super-villain) movies dominating today’s cinematic landscape.
This weekend brought us our first look Phoenix sporting the Joker’s iconic greasepaint, and it’s unlike anything we’ve seen before; a far cray from Heath Ledger’s mutilated madman and/or Jared Leto’s tattooed lunatic. In fact, he bears more than just a passing resemblance to one of America’s most infamous real-life villains.
The blue triangles above his eyes and the sharp, exaggerated red-smile have echoes John Wayne Gacy’s alter-ego Pogo the Clown. Gacy is accused of murdering more than 33 boys and young adults in Illinois between 1972 and 1978. When he wasn’t building his reputation as one of the world’s most depraved maniacs, he enjoyed entertaining youths as boisterous Pogo, a dichotomy that makes his crimes all the more chilling.
Whether Phillips is intentionally giving his Joker a Gacy vibe is probably open to debate. It’s also worth noting that the Joker images we’ve seen have all been made for promotional purposes, so the actual look may change before the film arrives in US theaters on October 4th, 2019. Time will tell!
What do you think of Joaquin Phoenix’s makeup for Joker? Do you think there’s an intentional connection to John Wayne Gacy/Pogo the Clown? Sound off in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!