THREE GUYS AND… A MAKEUP TEST?
series created by Marvin Mercer and Nick Stephenson
“MEET ARTHUR FLECK”
by Dominick Cappello
Director Todd Phillips posted on his Instagram a makeup test for Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck (aka The Joker) in an origin film which began filming about a week ago in NYC and will be released in time for Halloween 2019. The footage was accompanied by “Laughing” by The Guess Who. Seems and appropriate song for the character. Of course, even though this film not a part of the polarizing DCEU, the internet is already divided, and keyboard warriors are fighting tooth and nail.
I was impressed by what I saw, but according to some on social media, anyone who likes the creative direction of this film is just a fanboy. The same fanboys who defended Jared Leto’s tattoos in “Suicide Squad”. My two cents is that this film is supposedly an origin story. A story about the man who becomes The Clown Prince of Crime. Arthur Fleck may not become The Joker until the conclusion of the film. The makeup test showed images of Fleck in clown makeup being projected onto his face while he grins at the camera. It reminded of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” when “mother” is superimposed onto the face of Norman Bates. Perhaps since this film will be a Halloween release, we’ll be getting a horror movie version of The Joker.
Jack Nicholson was old school Mafioso Joker, Heath Ledger was domestic terrorist / anarchist Joker, Jared Leto was wannabe Tony Montana gangster Joker with all his bling, and maybe Joaquin Phoenix will be the creepy Norman Bates / Buffalo Bill Joker. The clown makeup seems to take inspiration from Emmett Kelly with the lots of blue and red. Caesar Romero and Heath Ledger both wore Emmett Kelly masks as The Joker. Slasher movie fans will know the Emmett Kelly mask as a candidate for the Michael Myers mask in John Carpenter’s “Halloween” before the filmmakers settled on a modified Captain Kirk mask. I thinks it’s clever to have the Arthur character take inspiration from Emmett Kelly during his descent into madness.
For all those disappointed with the makeup test and are already soured on a film which only began production a week ago and won’t be released for another year, a friendly reminder that the clapboard in the makeup test said the character’s name was Arthur not Joker. It’s an origin story. Joaquin Phoenix is playing Arthur Fleck transitioning into The Joker, so his look will likely evolve throughout the film and I’m excited to see an actor the caliber of Joaquin Phoenix in the role.
– Dominick Cappello