“The Batman” broke the internet this week by releasing a deleted scene featuring Robert Pattinson’s Batman and Barry Keoghan’s Joker. Although Keoghan’s Joker had a brief appearance in “The Batman” theatrical release, it wasn’t until the five-minute deleted scene that fans got an extended look at this new iteration of the character. This Joker is missing most of his hair, has bloody nails and appears with facial scarring that’s far different than previous on-screen Jokers.
In an interview with Variety‘s Adam B. Vary earlier this month, “The Batman” director Matt Reeves broke down the comic book tentpole’s ending and the ambiguous Joker cameo. Reeves said at the time it was intentional for Keoghan’s Joker to break with tradition when it came to the villain’s physical appearance. This Joker did not fall into a vat of chemicals (see Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s “Batman”) or have an open-ended reason for being scarred (see Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight”).
“It’s like ‘Phantom of the Opera,’” Reeves said in the interview. “He has a congenital disease where he can’t stop smiling and it’s horrific. His face is half-covered through most of the film.”
“It’s not about some version where he falls into a vat of chemicals and his face is distorted, or what [Christopher] Nolan did, where there’s some mystery to how he got these scars carved into his face,” Reeves added. “What if this guy from birth had this disease and he was cursed? He had this smile that people stared at that was grotesque and terrifying. Even as a child, people looked at him with horror, and his response was to say, ‘Okay, so a joke was played on me,’ and this was his nihilistic take on the world.”
Reeves told IGN that a reference point for Keoghan’s Joker was David Lynch’s “The Elephant Man.” Now that Keoghan’s Joker has been revealed more fully, courtesy of the deleted scene, will this iteration of the Crown Prince return in the future?
“There might be places,” Reeves told Variety in the same interview. “There’s stuff I’m very interested in doing in an Arkham space, potentially for HBO Max. There are things we’ve talked about there. So it’s very possible. It also isn’t impossible that there is some story that comes back where Joker comes into our world.”
“The Batman” is now playing in theaters nationwide. Click here to read Variety’s full interview with Reeves.