The Batman recently showed off its Joker in a deleted scene that featured more of actor Barry Keoghan in the role of the “Clown Prince of Crime.” In a recent interview with Variety, director Matt Reeves dove more into the backstory of their film’s version of the iconic villain.
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“It’s like Phantom of the Opera,” Reeves said of the Joker’s gruesome look in the film. “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.”
Reeves went on to say that this version of the Joker is unlike the comic book version, which saw a man fall into a vat of chemicals, or the Joker that Heath Ledger portrayed in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, where fans were unsure of how he became the villain. Instead, Reeves told IGN, the reference point for Keoghan’s Joker was the David Lynch film The Elephant Man.
“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,” explained Reeves. “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.”
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While Reeves had said shortly after the film’s release that fans shouldn’t assume Keoghan will be back as the Joker, he did note now that the likelihood of seeing him again is very possible.
“There might be places,” Reeves said. “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.”