It was confirmed on Thursday that the 43-year-old actor had finalized his deal to pay the Joker in a new one-off origin story for Warner Bros, which will be directed and co-written by Todd Phillips, who previously wrote and directed The Hangover Trilogy, Old School and War Dogs.
“I take a lot of time and consideration when making decisions and what I’m gonna work on,” Phoenix told Collider in an interview published on Thursday.
Speaking of Philipps, the actor said: “I think he’s very impressive and he seems to have a very interesting understanding of this world and what he’s trying to say. And so there is something very appealing about that and working with him on this particular project.”
“It feels unique, it is its own world in some ways, and maybe, mostly, it scares the f— s— out of me, or something,” Phoenix continued, adding that an actor’s next project “might as well be the thing that scares you the most.”
Phoenix also opened up about what it’s like to step into a role that so many people have their own opinions about.
“It’s a magnified version of what you deal with as an actor,” he said, explaining that whenever an actor takes on a role and gets in front of the film’s creative team, it can be pretty nerve wracking.
“They have their expectation, and they’ve imagined things in their head, and they’ve imagined different actors, and suddenly you take it on and so there’s this moment of anxiety of ‘Did I live up to their expectations?’ ” he continued. “And at some point you have to just own it and say like ‘I can’t consider who they might have thought up before or what the movie was for the 6 months ago, this is what it is now and I have to find my way into it.’ ”
Warner Bros has described the film as being an “exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In his interview with Collider, Phoenix described the movie as being difficult to classify genre-wise.
“I wouldn’t quite classify this as like any genre. I wouldn’t say it’s a superhero movie, or a studio movie or a … It feels unique,” he explained.
The new film, which does not have a title or a release date yet, is set to begin filming in September, according to THR.