'Joker' Teaser: Joaquin Phoenix as a Smiling Clown Makes the Skin Crawl

Could this be the Joker's final look?

The first official photo of Joaquin Phoenix in character as the Joker had him looking decidedly nonplussed, but the first video teaser may give you genuine chills. The new Joker camera test not only gives Phoenix some creepy clown makeup, but the Clown Prince of Crime even cracks a smile.

Earlier this week, Joker director Todd Phillips shared the first official photo of Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, the man that goes on to become Batman’s greatest nemesis, but on Friday afternoon, he shared a screen test from what looks like the same moment as the photo. Except here, the projection of a clown video flickers across Fleck’s face as he slowly cracks a smile, revealing a layer of smudged clown makeup across his face.

“Laughing” by the Guess Who plays in the background, an unnervingly upbeat song with incredibly sad lyrics more focused on ridicule than joy: “You took away everything I had, / you put the hurt on me … / What, you laughing at me?”

Here’s the original post of the teaser, which is technically just a screen test of Phoenix in character:

Little is known about the plot to Joker, but recent set photos place the character at some kind of circus. This comes as no surprise given what we know of the character.

The movie’s only known synopsis is about as generic as can be: “A man becomes a criminal mastermind known as the Joker.” So who knows what’s really going on in this teaser.

Earlier this week, comedian Bryan Callen was also spotted playing an “aging male stripper” during the film’s production.

Does Arthur go insane and base his supervillain identity off of a clown he sees via a projection film at the circus? And that’s what we’re seeing in the trailer? Who really knows, but Joaquin Phoenix certainly looks menacing in that clown makeup, especially when he does that little eyebrow raise.

**Joker will be released October 4, 2019.*