Joker actor Joaquin Phoenix has revealed he believes that the version of the Joker he played is the “real” Clown Prince of Crime.
Ever since the film was released last month, fans have been speculating that Phoenix’s failed stand-up comedian Arthur Fleck might not be the actual Batman villain.
Theories have suggested that Fleck might have been the inspiration for the person who would become Batman’s arch-nemesis, rather than the man himself.
Read more: Answers to key Joker questions
Phoenix told the LA Times in a new interview that he “does personally believe” Fleck is the real Joker, but left the door open for fans to continue to allow their imaginations to run wild.
“But I don’t know,” he added. “It’s just my opinion.”
The 45-year-old said it was “rare” for an audience to want to examine a film and its themes in such detail in the aftermath of its release.
“It’s been super interesting how people react to the movie and what they see — and to me, all of those answers are valid,” he said.
Phoenix added: “To me, there are so many different ways to view this character and his experience that I don’t think you can come up with a particular meaning.”
Joker is now the highest-grossing R-rated film ever made and is closing in on the billion-dollar mark at the global box office, with a current total of $994m (£772m).
The reviews for the film have been largely positive, despite controversy prior to its release into cinemas and security concerns surrounding early screenings.
Phoenix has been tipped for a Best Actor nomination at the Oscars and the film is expected to compete for several of the major prizes.
Read more: Jared Leto “distraught” over Phoenix casting
Given the film’s incredible success, talk has inevitably turned to a sequel, with Phoenix reportedly telling director Todd Phillips to start working on a follow-up while they were filming.
The actor told the LA Times he was not opposed to making another Joker story, but said they would have to recapture the “spark” of the first movie.