Joaquin Phoenix is a legendary actor. This has nothing to do with his massive acclaim and household name status. It has everything to do with him playing the iconic Joker role in a film coming out this weekend which I haven’t seen yet but will be amazing. Any theater school drop-out can play Hamlet, Willy Loman or Faustus. Only a true thespian can play the Clown Prince of Crime. This puts him right up there with Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, Mark Hamill Cesar Romero and Jared Leto aka the greatest actors of all time. It’s the role every actor wants to play. So much so that Joaquin has clearly been doing it for years, as we’ll reveal with these five performances that are obviously Phoenix secretly vying for the Jester of Genocide.
1. “Commodus” in Gladiator
Joaquin’s first Oscar nominated role was credited to be “Commodus,” the villain of the 2000 Best Picture Winner Gladiator. Commodus was a true figure in Roman history. However, the Joker influence here couldn’t be more obvious. He’s named Commodus, which we all know is Latin for “Clown Who Fights Bat.” I took a Roman history class in college and saw evidence that Commodus was a Joker ancestor based on a doodle in my used textbook. You can’t fight facts like that, y’all.
2. “Johnny Cash” in Walk the Line
Another role that Phoenix received acclaim for was as alleged famous singer Johnny Cash in the biopic Walk the Line. I have never heard of one of Johnny Cash’s songs, therefore this character is clearly a Joker knock off. He’s a performer with a tragic past and a sexy girlfriend who does what he does. That description couldn’t fit anybody BUT the Joker! The soundtrack even gives it away. Cry Cry Cry is a song all about sad clowns. Folsom Prison Blues is really a tune about Arkham Asylum. Cocaine Blues is a more subtle hint, but read between the lines and hear how much it’s about the specific white grease paint Joker uses. Nice try, filmmakers!
3. “Theodore” in Her
While Spike Jonze’s sci-fi romantic drama about loneliness and computer software doesn’t seem like a clear Joker take, I assure you it is. Here, Joaquin spends so much time pining over an operating system he loves yet can never truly grasp. Clearly, this is a direct correlation to Joker’s pursuit of Batman, specifically for his Batcomputer. As we all know from comics lore, Joker really just wanted to make passionate love to the Batcomputer. If you doubt me, I’ve got a 54 part magnum opus of an erotic fan fiction called “The Computer Wore Clown Shoes” that’ll convince you otherwise.
4. “Jesus” in Mary Magdalene
In this one, Joaquin plays a guy with long hair and wild ideas who fought against the traditions of society. Sound familiar? Clearly this is describing my messiah figure Joker and not some loser who wandered the desert before finding a title character that’s basically a groupie, right?
5. “Joaquin Phoenix” in I’m Still Here
This one takes meta context to a level only a criminal mastermind like Joker could fathom. Joaquin plays himself in a mockumentary where he suddenly hates acting and decides to become a rapper. All of this was played as real for the public, including an infamous appearance on David Letterman’s talk show. This is classic Joker material, people! Only a narcissistic mad genius would go to such lengths to put a mirror up to society. Sure, he doesn’t state anything profound by doing this, but neither would the Joker! Such brilliant method character work. Then again, Joaquin stepped out of character by letting Casey Affleck direct. Even Joker wouldn’t sink that low.
So, what other Joaquin Phoenix roles are clearly just him playing Joker? Is the real Inherent Vice on a playing card? Are the Two Lovers really Joker & Harley? Were there any clowns in Ladder 49, a film everyone out there has obviously seen? Post in the comments below to help us fill in all the gaps!