Joaquin Phoenix appears to put his personal stamp on his version of the Joker. To do that, he couldn't lean on any past iteration of the Clown Prince of Crime. The actor said he pulled inspiration for his role in the new, Scorsese-esque Joker from videos of a rare pathological disorder.
In an interview with Italian weekly Il Vernerdi, Phoenix said that he sourced some of his Joker's tics from people suffering from pathological laughter.
“I saw videos showing people suffering from pathological laughter, a mental illness that makes mimicry uncontrollable,” he said.
The movie is full of diversions from the typical Batman flick. For one, the Joker won't be squaring off against his archnemesis, but rather an evil American corporation.
"With this film, we are not inviting people to rebel," director Todd Phillips explained. "But let's try to explain why people could start a revolution."
Phillips said it was part of a larger veering from the source material.
"We didn't follow anything from the comic-books, which people are gonna be mad about," he said. "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."
Phoenix may run into problems for admitting that he used an actual illness as inspiration. Actress Lupita Nyong'o was forced to apologize after she based the voice of her Us character on a rare neurological disorder.
"The thought that I would, in a way, offend them was not my intention," Nyong'o said on The View, after her admission of inspiration sparked an outrage. "In my mind, I wasn't interested in vilifying or demonizing the condition. I crafted Red with love and care."
Joker hits theaters on October 4.