Actor Joaquin Phoenix, right, greets director Todd Phillips as they arrive at the premiere of the film "Joker" at the 76th edition of the Venice Film Festival, Venice, Italy, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. Movie magazine IGN gave the film a 10/10 rating, while both the Guardian and Empire have given it 5 stars, with Empire writing "Bold, devastating and utterly handsome, Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix have not just reimagined one of the most iconic villains in cinema history, but reimagined the comic book movie itself".
The movie, which is the first stand-alone film about the legendary comic book villain, follows the story of a failed stand-up comedian, Fleck, who turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City. The art director at the Venice Film Festival, Alberto Barbera, stated that Joker is headed "straight to the Oscars".
Phoenix negated being influenced by past silver screen Jokers. This is a fictional character.
"For me, the attraction to make this film and this character was that we were going to approach it in our own way", he mused.
"I didn't refer to any past iteration of the character", he said.
"My mother always tells me to smile and put on a happy face", he says.
He said it needed to be "something that's nearly painful". Speaking at the Venice Film Festival, Joaquin said that losing that much weight at once really has a negative impact on a person's psyche. "It's a part of him that is trying to emerge". I love that kind of fear.
"I didn't think that I could do it, I kind of practised alone but I asked Todd to come over to audition my laugh".
The rest of us can decide for ourselves when Joker, also starring Robert De Niro and Zazie Beetz, arrives in Australia on October 3 and opens in the United States on October 4.
"The first thing was the weight loss, that's really what I started with".
Fleck does not want "the world to burn", he said, a reference back to a line in one of Christopher Nolan's Batman films.