OK, Joaquin Phoenix Looks Absolutely Terrifying in Joker Makeup

We spoke too soon.

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Sep 21 2018, 6:58pm

Screenshot via Todd Phillips's Instagram

On Monday, director Todd Phillips released the first photo of Joaquin Phoenix in costume for the pair's upcoming Joker origin movie. But it wasn't like any Joker we've ever seen before—it was... just pretty normal? Phoenix looked more like Lord Farquaad or Finn Wolfhard's dad than the Dark Knight's crazed nemesis, dressed in a button-up and a green jacket and sporting a bad Prince Valiant haircut.

But on Friday, Phillips dropped a follow-up video on Instagram that finally gives us a look at Phoenix in actual, honest-to-God Joker makeup—and it's pretty fucking horrifying.

According to Phillips, the short clip comes from a screen test, and starts with Phoenix's character, Arthur, in his normal clothes as footage of the Joker begins to overlay on top. Finally, it cuts to a close-up of Phoenix in full Joker make-up, as The Guess Who's "Laughing" plays.

Phoenix's version of the Clown Prince of Crime has the signature face paint, but he looks significantly less goofy than the original Joker, Cesar Romero, or Jack Nicholson's 90s take. The guy looks like some kind of fucked-up Pagliacci or the world's worst birthday clown and is pretty goddamn scary, but somehow still not as scary as Tommy Wiseau's version. At least he doesn't have "damaged" tattooed across his forehead.

The upcoming Joker origin movie, which is set in 1980s New York and stars Phoenix as a failed stand-up comic who apparently decides to invest in some face paint and turn to a life of crime, is due out October 4, 2019.

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