The first trailer for Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker dropped Wednesday and fans got a better look at how the Oscar-winning actor will portray DC’s Clown Prince of Crime.
Set, appropriately enough, to the classic song “Smile,” the first footage is set against the backdrop of a bleak early-1980s Gotham City, and follows the descent of Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck, from a failed stand-up comedian to the manic criminal who becomes Batman’s archenemy.
The day before, Warner Bros. shared the first poster for the Todd Phillips-directed origin film, which also stars Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz and Marc Maron.
The poster shows Joker looking to the sky, clearly with blood on his face. The tagline for the Batman villain stand-alone is “Put on a happy face.”
Maron has described Joker as “an origin story and a character study of a mentally ill person that becomes The Joker,” which certainly comes through in the teaser trailer. It’s intense, and will almost certainly lead to speculation about whether Phoenix’s Joker could become the definitive portrayal of the character, surpassing the acclaimed performance of the late Heath Ledger.
Directed by Todd Phillips, Joker stars Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Dante Pereira-Olson, Douglas Hodge and Josh Pais. The film arrives in theaters Oct. 4.