We’re used to seeing a prequel as backstory to an infamous character’s making, but the first trailer for the forthcoming Joker movie, which stars Joaquin Phoenix in the lead, sees this villain’s backstory summed up in a slick two-and-a-half minutes.
The immediate premise would’ve had Sigmund Freud applauding, with Arthur Fleck (Phoenix) narrating how his mother always tells him “to smile and put on a happy face” and that his purpose in life was “to bring laughter and joy to the world” (cue: flashbacks of Arthur giving his mum a bath, his mother, incidentally, played by American Horror Story‘s Frances Conroy). Yep, creepy already.
After an accident leaves Arthur not all there, and following a couple of run-ins with bullies, this broken man reaches a turning point and transforms into the Clown Prince of Crime.
“I used to think that my life was a tragedy,” says Arthur. “But now I realise … it’s a comedy.”
Meanwhile, the classic song Smile by Jimmy Durante plays in the background, lending the promo a kind of quasi-quaintness, while the Joker, who’s suddenly discovered his true calling, struts confidently down a corridor and some steps (looking very 1960s Joker, we must say).
The trailer is more of Arthur before the big change, and follows on from some creepy mugshots we’ve seen of him so far.
My bet? That after the quaintness of this clip the next trailer is going to show shit really hitting the fan.
The film also stars Robert De Niro (as a talk-show host who has some kind of influence on Arthur’s turning), Zazie Beetz (hinted as a love interest, but I won’t say how that crush will undoubtedly end), and Marc Maron (who is an actual stand-up comedian turned actor).
Check the trailer out below.
‘Joker’ is in theatres October 4, 2019.