As Joaquin Phoenix takes on the role of Batman's archnemesis in Todd Phillips' Joker, the movie's director explains why the Clown Prince of Crime does so much dancing.
Heading back to Tim Burton's Batman in 1989, Jack Nicholson had some fancy footwork as Joker. However, while Nicholson's Joker only danced in one scene to show off his larger than life personality, Phoenix's iteration of the iconic villain continues to dance as he settles into his own skin.
Following an early screening of Joker in Los Angeles, Phillips explained where Fleck got his moves. Phillips confirmed that Arthur Fleck was only supposed to dance in one of the movie's early scenes. "The only dancing in the script was the dancing, obviously, as a clown in the beginning, which isn't really much of a dance; it's a performance," said Phillips.
He added, "But the dancing on the stairs was there. Other than that, we didn't do it, but when we start talking about Arthur, we started talking about music and having music in him and that kind of thing." Originally, Fleck was only going to dance during the sign-spinning scene and another scene atop the stairs.
When it comes to Joker, Phoenix went off-script to add his own flair to his character. "The scene in the bathroom where he just starts dancing, that's not in the script; that's not in the thing," revealed Phillips. "That's just something that kind of evolved like 'Oh, this is a moment where we can show that it's kind of fighting to get out.' But I love the dancing in the movie. I think we should have more of it."
Joker is already being praised as an impressive comic book origin movie, and there's even buzz around Phoenix bagging an Academy Award for his performance. Fans will have to wait and see how much Phoenix gets to bust a move when Joker hits theaters on Oct. 4.
Directed by Todd Phillips, Joker stars Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Josh Pais and Shea Whigham. The film arrives in theaters Oct. 4.