Shea Whigham On His ‘Joker’ Role

While promoting his new Amazon series, actor Shea Whigham divulged details on his role in the solo Joker movie.

Whigham is absolutely pumped to be be working on the Joaquin Phoenix Joker film. He said that filming is still occurring and promised scenes with Phoenix’s Joker. Whigham on filming:

We’re in the middle of it, right now. It’s intense. For me, it’s as good as it gets. 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.

Presumably, Whigham does not mean that audiences have literally never seen the Joker’s origin, since The Killing Joke and 1989’s Batman depicted the Joker’s beginnings. It seems that Whigham is referring to the psychological build-up to how the Joker came to be. Meanwhile, Whigham is an accomplished actor in his own right. He most recently worked on the Amazon and in the Neil Armstrong bio-pic First Man. 

Shea Whigham

‘Joker’ Plot Details

Whigham also went on to discuss some plot points of the film. He divulged his character and the time period the movie is set in.

I’ll say this, 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.

Why the 80’s?

The specific 1981 date is an intriguing tidbit of information. Why 1981? What is it about the early 80’s that is essential to this version of the Joker?

The date also throws out my personal theory of the Joker film being a prequel that connects to any modern version of Batman. There is no way that Phoenix’s Joker is in his 40’s at the movie’s start and then meets with Batman in 2018. He would be well within his 80’s. Despite what Grant Morrison says, seeing a relatively-young Batman beating on a geriatric Joker is not fun.

The Joker movie opens on October 4, 2019.

Eric Lee

Eric Lee hails from San Francisco, California and has been one of the biggest fans of Batman since he was 2 years old when his dad showed him Tim Burton's 'Batman' on a fuzzy VHS. Currently, Eric is an avid comic book reader and writer and illustrator working on his own graphic novel. You can see his doodles at