From what I've read, JOKER is a backstory. It shows us the character's evolution from troubled young man to psycho villain. JOKER is a character created for a comic book. He's been played by only one non-white male. Latino Cesar Romero, one of the most versatile actors of Old Hollywood, played The Joker in the 1960s on the popular BATMAN TV series on ABC and in a movie version of the TV series. In later films, the Joker was played by Jack Nicholson and the late Heath Ledger.
In the trailer, I noticed that Phoenix's psychologically tattered character is verbally pushed back, rejected by two Black women -- one on a bus, the other in an office. Then, he's kissing a third Black woman. I wonder where that relationship goes. Here's a trailer.
Another actor whose work I totally dig is Michael Peña. I wish he got as much attention and promotion as Joaquin Phoenix does. Peña had roles in five films that got Oscar nominations for Best Picture -- MILLION DOLLAR BABY, CRASH, BABEL, AMERICAN HUSTLE and THE MARTIAN. This talented Mexican-American actor also starred in a biopic, playing the lead character, but the entertainment press didn't give CESAR CHAVEZ anywhere near the attention it gave WALK THE LINE with the Joaquin as Johnny Cash. Here's Michael Peña.
Here's my question. If an ethnic actor, like Michael Peña, played JOKER, and played him as the son of an immigrant, a son who, like his father, was mistreated by society because of his race, how would comic book fans and critics respond to that? Think of Joker hearing "Go back where you came from" and seeing immigrant kids in cages on TV news as he continues to be treated like a second class citizen. Think of what being a racial outcast could give to the texture of that comic book character's backstory. Would it be interesting to see? Feel free to leave me a comment.