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See Joaquin Phoenix Become ‘Joker’ in Twisted First Trailer

Origin story for Batman’s greatest nemesis arrives in October

Joaquin Phoenix transforms from a mild-mannered man into a terrifying villain in the first trailer for Joker, director Todd Phillips’ upcoming take on the iconic DC Comics character.

The clip opens with an ordinary-looking Arthur Fleck sitting with his therapist, who asks, “Does it help to have someone to talk to?” His response: a chilling, foreboding smile. “My mother always tells me to smile and put on a happy face,” he narrates over a montage of Fleck scribbling in a notebook labeled “JOKES” (sample: “People expect you to behave as if you DONT”) and giving his mom (Frances Conroy) a bath. “She told me I had a purpose: to bring laughter and joy to the world. Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?”

Elsewhere, the trailer shows the character dancing with his mother, going on a date with love interest Sophie Dumon (Zazie Beetz), visiting Arkham State Hospital and cackling at a stand-up comedy performance. Finally dressed in his Joker make-up, he’s attacked by men on the subway and insulted as a “freak” — and later, a news report recounts a “cold-blooded” crime from someone “who hides behind a mask.” 

“I used to think my life was a tragedy,” the Joker notes. “But now I realize it’s a comedy.”

Joker, the first installment in a new series of DC films outside the Extended Universe, is out October 4th.

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