Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘Joker’ Is the ‘Character Study of a Mentally Ill Person,’ Says Marc Maron

Maron shot scenes for "Joker" over one week in New York City.

While the superhero movie genre is currently Marvel crazy thanks to the success of “Captain Marvel” and the upcoming “Avengers: Endgame,” Warner Bros. and DC could be the only thing superhero fans are talking about come the fall. “The Hangover” director Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix are putting their own stamp on an iconic Batman villain in “Joker,” an R-rated prequel film that is bound to attract a lot of attention. The movie stars Phoenix as a failed stand-up comedian named Arthur Fleck who is driven insane and becomes the Joker. The film co-stars Marc Maron, who recently teased the project in an interview with NME.

“I think it’s a very interesting approach to this world,” Maron said of “Joker.” “I’ve been somewhat judgemental when it comes to comic book movies and I’ve got a little pushback in the press for being a hypocrite…The approach that Todd Phillips has taken is more of an origin story and a character study of a mentally ill person that becomes The Joker. It’s more of an intimate and gritty movie with a very specific scope. It’s going to be really interesting to see how it comes out.”

Maron has been critical about superhero movies but said he couldn’t pass up the chance to act in scenes opposite Phoenix and Robert De Niro. The latter is playing a popular late night talk show host who somehow plays a part in Arthur’s psychological downfall and transformation into the Joker.

“If you get a call and someone says, ‘Hey do you wanna do a scene with Robert De Niro and Joaquin Phoenix?’ your principals fall to the wayside,” Maron said. “I did a week in New York and did a scene with De Niro and Phoenix. I couldn’t believe it was happening, but once I got there I was like ‘Here we go. Let’s do the job.’”

Maron’s character has yet to be revealed, although if he shot scenes with De Niro and Phoenix it’s safe to assume his role is somehow related to the late night talk show. The comedian and podcast host is a series regular on the Netflix comedy “G.L.O.W.” Maron said acting opposite De Niro wasn’t as intimidating as one might think.

“It was great to meet him and it was great to see him work,” Maron said. “I wasn’t really beside myself because they do become people very quickly. When you’re not shooting you are just hanging around. Still, he’s Robert De Niro and the subtleties of how he does what he does is innate and amazing to watch. He’s a nice guy and kinda shy, but it was a great experience and not too much of a mindfuck.”

As for working with Phoenix, Maron said he didn’t really get the chance to do so, as the actor went method to play the Joker and rarely appeared out-of-character on the set. “I didn’t really get to talk to him because he was pretty immersed in The Joker,” he said. “I was just like, ‘I’m not gonna bother that guy’. That was fine. You just gotta respect people’s process.”

Warner Bros. will release “Joker” in theaters nationwide October 4.

Daily Headlines
Daily Headlines covering Film, TV and more.

By subscribing, I agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

PMC Logo
IndieWire is a part of Penske Media Corporation. © 2023 IndieWire Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.