The disturbing teaser, set to Jimmy Durante’s “Smile,” was released on Wednesday and shows Joaquin Phoenix’s character’s transformation from a momma’s boy to the Clown Prince of Crime as it gets “crazier out there.”
“I used to think that my life was a tragedy,” Arthur says. “But now I realize … it’s a comedy.”
“My mother always tells me to smile and put on a happy face,” he tells his therapist as he’s shown giving his mom a bath.
“She told me I had a purpose to bring laugher and joy to the world,” he adds as his character is being terrorized and assaulted while dressed like a clown and working as a sign spinner on the street.
The failed stand-up comic soon resorts to a life of crime, shown running away from some kind of attack on the subway.
Footage from the film debuted during Warner Bros.’ presentation at CinemaCon on Tuesday evening. “It’s a tragedy,” Phillips told exhibitors at the annual Las Vegas trade show. “I don’t have a lot to say about the film because it’s still taking shape. And I want it to be a surprise.”
The movie, written by Phillips and Scott Silver, also stars Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz (as a possible love interest), and Marc Maron.
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“Joker” hits theaters on Oct. 4.