Ahead of world premiering “Joker” at the Venice Film Festival, Warner Bros. has debuted the official trailer for the comic book film that stars Joaquin Phoenix as the notorious Batman villain. The studio’s first trailer dropped in April to extreme fanfare, and the latest look at the unhinged Phoenix in the title role should only increase fan anticipation for the October tentpole. “Joker” is the latest film from director Todd Phillips, director of “The Hangover” movies and “War Dogs.”
“Joker” takes place in the 1980s and stars Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, a stand-up comedian whose failed attempts to become famous force him into the criminal underworld of Gotham City. The supporting cast includes Robert De Niro as a talk show host who factors into Arthur’s psychological downfall and “Atlanta” and “Deadpool” favorite Zazie Beetz as a single mother who is Arthur’s love interest. Frances Conroy, Bill Camp, and Marc Maron co-star. The film has been described as hewing to the tone of Martin Scorsese’s 1970s gangster movies, including “Mean Streets.”
Phoenix revealed earlier this month that in order to play the role he studied victims of PLC (Pathological Laughter or Crying). “I saw videos showing people suffering from pathological laughter, a mental illness that makes mimicry uncontrollable,” the actor explained. The disease causes involuntary laughter or crying, usually separate from any kind of conventional trigger.
The involvement of three-time Oscar nominee Phoenix always had some positioning “Joker” as a potential Oscar hopeful, but the film’s placement at three major fall film festivals has cemented its status as a bonafide Oscar contender. “Joker” will premiere in competition at the Venice Film Festival (becoming the first comic book movie to do so) before playing at TIFF and NYFF. Comic book movies have struggled to break through at the Oscars, but it’s not impossible. “Black Panther” became the first superhero film to earn a Best Picture nomination earlier this year, while Heath Ledger won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for playing the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight.”
Warner Bros. will release “Joker” in theaters nationwide October 4. Watch the new official trailer in the video below.