Joaquin Phoenix in his Joker makeup is plenty creepy

Joker director Todd Phillips teases Joaquin Phoenix's supervillian look.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser

The Joker is getting a new, gritty backstory starring Joaquin Phoenix. We got a look at the actor in character as pre-Joker "Arthur" earlier in the week. Now director Todd Phillips is showing off the clown makeup. 

Warner Bros. Pictures posted a camera test from Phillips on Friday. It shows Phoenix in costume looking somewhat normal under flashing clown images -- until the video cuts to him in full face makeup sporting a wicked grin. 

The makeup looks to have a very red, white and blue color scheme. It's messy, though not as crazy death-metal as that sported by Heath Ledger's version of the DC Comics villain. It also passes on the facial tattoos worn by recent Suicide Squad Joker Jared Leto.

The video is set to The Guess Who's song Laughing, a sad tale about a broken relationship. Phillips, known for directing The Hangover movies, also posted the video on his own Instagram account

Joker is shaping up to be a standalone, possibly R-rated film that doesn't tie into previous DC Comics movies. Warner Bros. describes it as a gritty character study and a broader cautionary tale. 

Joker is set for an Oct. 4, 2019 release date

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