“I knew he was gonna win an Oscar”: Joaquin Phoenix’s Terrifying Performance Convinced His Joker Co-Star That He Was the Perfect Heath Ledger Successor

Joaquin Phoenix's dedication and performance left his co-star convinced he was the perfect heir to Heath Ledger's legacy.

“I knew he was gonna win an Oscar”: Joaquin Phoenix’s Terrifying Performance Convinced His Joker Co-Star That He Was the Perfect Heath Ledger Successor


  • Bryan Callen came to recognize Joaquin Phoenix as the ideal heir to Heath Ledger's enduring legacy.
  • Phoenix went to great lengths to make his character believable.
  • Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker stands as an enduring masterpiece.
  • In preparation for the role, Ledger isolated himself for weeks before filming.
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The revelation that Joaquin Phoenix would embrace the iconic mantle of the Joker triggered a wave of understandable skepticism. After all, Heath Ledger’s portrayal in The Dark Knight had set an immense benchmark, seemingly casting a formidable shadow.  Yet, in the world of cinematic change, the 48-year-old performance emerged as a resounding silencer of the skeptics.

Actor Joaquin Phoenix
Actor Joaquin Phoenix

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Moreover, his electrifying portrayal managed to sway even his fellow Joker co-star, Bryan Callen, who, originally perhaps dubious, came to recognize Phoenix as the ideal heir to Ledger’s enduring legacy.


Joaquin Phoenix’s Chilling Joker Performance Was Truly Terrifying

In the world of cinematic brilliance, Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of the Joker in the 2019 film of the same name stands as proof of his extraordinary talent. His performance was not merely chilling, it was a masterclass in terrifying artistry.

The actor stunned the world with his mind-blowing performance in the film, earning him the coveted Academy Award for Best Actor.

Joaquin Phoenix as Joker
Joaquin Phoenix as Joker

Read more: Relationship Between Joaquin Phoenix and His Favorite Actor Robert De Niro Changed Drastically Because of ‘Joker’


His commitment to method acting reached new heights, with few aware of the sacrifices he made for his craft, including injuring himself during an intense scene in the movie.

The success of Joker at the box office has paved the way for a sequel, Joker: Folie a Deux, directed by Todd Phillips and featuring Lady Gaga in the lead role. This musical sequel is set to grace theaters in October 2024.

However, one of the lesser-known tales from the making of Joker involved a scene where Phoenix goes to great lengths to make his character believable.


Recalling his time on set, Phoenix’s co-star, Bryan Callen, revealed the actor’s dedication to his craft. He described on The Joe Rogan Experience, how the artist’s improvisations often pushed the boundaries, going beyond the script. He said,

“He would just improvise and do crazy sh*t where you didn’t know if he was going to even hurt himself. Remember when he punches the clock that’s not in the script, he just punches that clock off the wall. Todd thought he broke his hand, that was not on the script.”

Bryan Callen
Comedian, Bryan Callen

Among these intense moments, one stood out, the bus scene where Phoenix’s character can’t stop laughing. Callen witnessed the filming of this scene and was so impressed that he predicted Phoenix would win an Oscar. He explained,

“You know the bus scene where he can’t stop laughing? I saw them shooting that when I got to set. I swear to God, I saw him walking, and I knew he was going to win an Oscar. It was that good.” 

Phoenix’s portrayal not only shed light on the complex layers of the Joker’s psyche but also cemented his place as the rightful successor to the 28-year-old, who had made history with his iconic portrayal of the same character.


Heath Ledger’s Joker Portrayal In The Dark Knight Left An Indelible Mark

Heath Ledger
Heath Ledger as Joker

Read more: “I’m not a f*cking cinephile, I’m not a snob”: Joaquin Phoenix May Not Agree With Martin Scorsese Over His Brutal Criticism For Marvel Movies

In the annals of cinematic history, Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight stands as an enduring masterpiece.

Ledger’s rendition of the Joker in Nolan’s groundbreaking Batman trilogy marked a new era for the character, elevating it to new heights. Here are some lesser-known facets of Ledger’s iconic Joker that may surprise you.


According to Screenrant, when Ledger embarked on his transformative journey to embody the Joker, he chose to immerse himself in a unique process.

In preparation for the role, he isolated himself for weeks before filming, holing up in a London hotel room for about a month.

During this isolation, he delved into the character’s psyche, maintaining a diary and experimenting with various voices.


What emerged was a portrayal of a psychopathic figure devoid of empathy. This diary became his constant companion during The Dark Knight’s filming, helping him slip seamlessly into character.

Ledger’s exceptional performance not only earned him passed on accolades, notably the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor but also revolutionized the perception of comic book villains.

His Joker became the benchmark for complexity and unpredictability, leaving a profound legacy in cinematic history.


The 2019 film Joker can be streamed on Netflix.


Written by Muskan Chaudhary

Articles Published: 694

Muskan Chaudhary, Junior Content Writer at Fandom wire. Having completed her degree in Commerce, she has written over 500 articles spanning FandomWire and Animated Times in the pop culture. She is dedicated to bring the latest and informative content from the entertainment world, thus expanding her knowledge in the field. Apart from her contributions to FandamWire, she has a keen interest in video games, sketching and playing tennis.