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Joaquin Phoenix Transforms Into Iconic Villain in First ‘Joker’ Movie Teaser Trailer

Don’t forget to smile! Joaquin Phoenix perfectly transforms into DC Comics’ iconic villain The Joker in the just-released trailer for the upcoming origin movie.

Related: Stars Who Played The Joker

In the teaser, viewers see Arthur Fleck, who later becomes The Joker, growing up and trying to survive as he is tormented by his peers. “My mother always tells me to smile and put on a happy face,” Phoenix’s titular character says as he is shown working as a clown on a city street. “She told me I had a purpose — to bring laughter and joy to the world.”

Joaquin Phoenix Courtesy of Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros.

A group of boys then torment Fleck while he is in costume, stealing his sign, running away and eventually smashing it in his face, causing him to pass out. His voiceover continues, “Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?”

Fleck’s mental health problems are also highlighted as he is shown meeting with a therapist and writing a note that reads, “The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you DONT [sic].”

Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker
Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker Warner Bros.

The video concludes with Fleck speaking out of frame: “I used to think that my life was a tragedy, but now I realize it’s a comedy.”

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Phoenix, 44, was first spotted filming the flick, which follows the origin of the villain as he becomes Batman’s most notorious enemy, in September. While he did not wear the character’s recognizable makeup while on set in the Harlem neighborhood of NYC, fans got a glimpse of the full transformation days later.

Director Todd Phillips shared a video of the Her actor dressed as Fleck before he slowly morphed into the makeup-clad villain. Phillips, 48, captioned the clip: “Camera test (w/ sound). Joker.” The fictitious criminal was previously portrayed on the big screen by Jack Nicholson, the late Heath Ledger and Jared Leto.

Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker
Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker Warner Bros.

Related: Stars As Superheroes

In July 2018, the Academy Award nominee told Collider that the upcoming film “feels unique,” which he finds terrifying. “It is its own world in some ways,” he explained. “It scares the f–king s–t out of me.”

Joker also stars Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, and Frances Conroy. It is slated to hit theaters on October 4, 2019.

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