Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Shea Whigham reveals his Joker character and hypes up the story, Joaquin Phoenix, everything

Illustration for article titled Shea Whigham reveals his iJoker/i character and hypes up the story, Joaquin Phoenix, everything
Photo: Jim Spellman (WireImage via Getty Images)

If you’re looking for a hype man, you could do far worse than Shea Whigham. The actor—who’s been seemingly ubiquitous lately, in everything from Kong: Skull Island to Fargo to Waco to First Man—is currently shooting Todd Phillips’ one-off Joker film, and let him assure you, he is fucking psyched about it.

“For me, it’s as good as it gets,” Whigham tells Collider in a new interview amid the press campaign for upcoming Amazon series Homecoming, when asked about the time he’s currently spending in Gotham City. “I’m flowing back and forth between television and film, and it’s not lost on me, to work with Joaquin [Phoenix] and to see what he’s doing. And Todd Phillips has put this amazing script together. It’s the origin story. People haven’t seen how the Joker becomes the Joker, and oh, my God, man, it’s incredible. It really is.” No one tell Whigham about Tim Burton’s Batman, because he seems pretty pumped about the whole “no one’s seen the Joker become the Joker” thing.

To be fair, this is a new spin on the origin story, at least when it comes to big-screen depictions. Whigham gives some further details (and additional enthusiasm) when asked about his role in the villain-centric period piece:

Bill Camp, from The Night Of, is one of our great actors. He’s finally getting his due. He and I play two cops from Gotham P.D., in 1981 when the city was tough. We’re investigating something that’s just happened, at the start of the piece. We’re trying to get to the bottom of it, and it leads to where it leads to. You know, it’s rare that I’ve been on a set where it feels like it crackles. It’s pretty amazing . . .I want to have an experience. I don’t call it a job. I don’t say that I have a job. I have a gig, or a piece, or a film, or a show, but it’s never a job . . . We’re having an experience on Joker.


Nice to hear he’s having an experience! The idea of a pair of cops playing counterpoint to the development of Phoenix’s transformation from everyday guy Arthur Fleck into the Joker makes sense, if only because somebody needs to show up to the scene of Joker’s crimes in order to stare goggle-eyed and say, “Call for backup,” since there likely won’t be a Batman around to do anything about it.

Alex McLevy is a writer and editor at The A.V. Club, and would kindly appreciate additional videos of robots failing to accomplish basic tasks.

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