Joker Origin Movie: 9 Key Influences You'll See In Joaquin Phoenix's Performance

9. The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight Opening Scene Joker Heath Ledger
Warner Bros

Any new Joker is going to have to suffer comparisons to Heath Ledger's iconic take on the character, and while Joaquin Phoenix's take looks suitably different - as did Jared Leto's before him - there are signs of some inspiration being drawn.

On a surface level, the most obvious here is the hair, with Phoenix's Joker rocking a very similar style to Ledger's long, greasy look in The Dark Knight. Interestingly, the set video of Joker on the subway station also calls to mind the opening scene of the movie, with the Joker wearing a clown mask that he takes off to reveal his clown face, and others wearing similar masks too.

While the fact it's an origin story means it will have to deviate from Ledger's take anyway, you can imagine Phoenix going down the method route for the character, and both exhibit a sense of unease and creepiness.

The anti-establishment angle, meanwhile, fits with a lot of the themes in Christopher Nolan's trilogy, mostly The Dark Knight Rises.


NCTJ-qualified journalist. Most definitely not a racing driver. Drink too much tea; eat too much peanut butter; watch too much TV. Sadly only the latter paying off so far. A mix of wise-old man in a young man's body with a child-like wonder about him and a great otherworldly sensibility.