How 'Joker' Director Todd Phillips and Star Joaquin Phoenix Crafted an Iconic Laugh

/Film’s Peter Sciretta recently attended a Joker Q&A with director Todd Phillips and star Joaquin Phoenix, who revealed lots of insight into how far they went into the Joker’s psyche, creating their version of the character’s memorable laugh by researching real-world traumas, and imbuing the Joker with a physical musicality. Despite the film’s grim and gritty tone, it sounds like they both had a total blast making this movie. Read their quotes below.

The Psyche of the Joker

After Heath Ledger’s death in 2008, rumors came out about how intensely he dove into the psychology of The Joker in The Dark Knight, with an implication that he was in a dark headspace while playing that role. Despite the fact that those closest to him denied Ledger was consumed by the darkness of the character, that notion seems to have somehow stuck around in the pop culture zeitgeist. So it was a refreshing surprise to hear that Phoenix also wasn’t super disturbed while making the movie. When asked how deep he and Phillips went into the Joker’s psyche, they responded:

Crafting the Laugh

At a certain point during the Q&A, Phoenix and Phillips explained how they collaborated to pinpoint and fine-tune the Joker’s laugh.

Real-World Trauma

We previously heard that Phoenix turned to actual medical conditions for inspiration for the laugh, and the duo expanded on that idea during the Q&A.

Musical Movement

Joker dances its way into theaters on October 4, 2019.

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