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It's Safe To Say Joaquin Phoenix's Joker Is A Far Cry From Heath Ledger's

Not a laughing matter

Joaquin Phoenix has undergone a total transformation into the Clown Prince of Crime, at least that's certainly what it appears in Joker's newest footage.

The film, set in 1981, is a harrowing new origin story for the Joker, or Arthur Fleck (Phoenix). He's a clown who dreams of one day hitting the stage as a stand-up comedian, but never can seem to get a break. We're not quite sure when the switch is flipped, but at some point, Fleck's had enough and turns to a harrowing life of crime in Gotham City.

The latest trailer is simply breathless, and gritty in a way we haven't seen since Heath Ledger's portrayal of the criminal in The Dark Knight. This is a very different picture of the Joker, but it looks enticing in so many weird, dark ways. Joining Phoenix will be Robert De Niro as Murray Franklin, a comedian obsessed with a talk show host, as well as Zazie Beetz, who happens to be a woman Arthur is in love with. Meanwhile, Frances Conroy plays Fleck's mother.

This lengthier new trailer hit just ahead of the movie's Venice Film Festival debut this upcoming Saturday (September 1), where viewers will get to see the harrowing story unfold for the first time. We're pretty eager to see how the first reviews for the movie will go, especially since it looks like Phoenix has really given it his all this time to sell this new vision of the Joker to us. It's a whole new frontier, and this is a massively different version from the portrayal we got of the character most recently in Suicide Squad. We have to admit we're extremely curious to see what that means for the movie's direction overall.

Can't wait to see it for yourself? Mark your calendars and put on your best clown makeup. It's set to bring chaos to theaters on October 4.