Marc Maron tells us about working on Joaquin Phoenix’s upcoming ‘Joker’ origin movie

"It's more of an origin story and a character study of a mentally ill person"

Marc Maron has spoken of how the upcoming Joker origin movie starring Joaquin Phoenix is taking a more “interesting approach” than other comic book films.

The comedian, actor and host of the WTF Podcast was speaking to NME ahead of his upcoming UK tour. Among his recent busy schedule of stand-up gigs and appearing in Glow, Maron also took up the role of Ted Marco alongside Phoenix and Robert De Niro in Todd Phillips’ upcoming reboot.

“I finished that a while ago,” Maron told NME. “We’d just finished wrapping the third season of Glow, I did a week in New York and did a scene with Robert De Niro and Joaquin Phoenix. I couldn’t believe it was happening, but once I got there I was like ‘Here we go. Let’s do the job’.”


While Maron had previously been critical of comic book movies, he’s confident that this one with Phoenix as the titular character will have a more cerebral take than others.

“I think it’s a very interesting approach to this world,” Maron continued. “I’ve been somewhat judgemental when it comes to comic book movies and I’ve got a little pushback in the press for being a hypocrite. Whatever I think, if you get a call and someone says, ‘Hey do you wanna do a scene with Robert De Niro and Joaquin Phoenix?’ your principals fall to the wayside.

“If it’s relative to what I think of Marvel movies then it’s like, ‘Yeah, of course I’m gonna do that’. Oddly, it’s not that kind of movie. The approach that Todd Phillips has taken is more of an origin story and a character study of a mentally ill person that becomes The Joker.”

He added: “It’s more of an intimate and gritty movie with a very specific scope. It’s going to be really interesting to see how it comes out.”


As for the ‘honour’ of working with Robert De Niro, Maron said that he was happy to learn how humble and human he was.

“It was great to meet him and it was great to see him work,” Maron revealed. “I wasn’t really beside myself because they do become people very quickly. When you’re not shooting you are just hanging around. Still, he’s Robert De Niro and the subtleties of how he does what he does is innate and amazing to watch. He’s a nice guy and kinda shy, but it was a great experience and not too much of a mindfuck.”

He added: “Joaquin is another story. I didn’t really get to talk to him because he was pretty immersed in The Joker. I was just like, ‘I’m not gonna bother that guy’. That was fine. You just gotta respect people’s process.”

Check back at NME soon for more of our interview with Marc Maron

The origins movie is directed by The Hangover’s Todd Phillips and is expected to hit cinemas on October 4, 2019. The script has been co-written by Phillips and Scott Silver – who was behind the Eminem-starring movie 8 Mile. Frances Conroy has also been announced as a cast member, while The Night Manager‘s Douglas Hodge will play Alfred and Dante Pereira-Olson will play Bruce Wayne as a child. Pereira-Olson has worked with Phoenix before, starring alongside him in 2017’s You Were Never Really Here.

Last year, the studio shared the creepy first camera test of Joaquin Phoenix in the film. The camera test saw Phoenix’s face plastered with projections of The Joker, before he’s revealed in full make-up.

Phillips also shared the first official look at Phoenix’s character, captioning it ‘Arthur’, which seemingly confirms widespread rumours that the character’s real name is Arthur Fleck.

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