Joaquin Phoenix's dance in New Jersey: The hidden realities behind Joker filming locations you might have missed

    Step back in time to when Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker showcased the gritty streets of New Jersey. Explore how the Garden State played a pivotal role, from Newark's Market Street scenes to cinematic shots in Jersey City.

    Joker (Source: NJ)

    Joker (Source: NJ)

    Ever found yourself transported back to 2019 when Joaquin Phoenix danced down the steps and etched the Joker’s character forever in our minds? A touch of nostalgia reveals that the brooding landscapes of Gotham City, drenched in anarchy and chaos, were primarily the hauntingly familiar streets of New Jersey.

    New Jersey: the true star behind the mask

    Long before the infamous laugh or the transformation from Arthur Fleck to the Joker, the film's essence was captured in the quaint cityscapes of New Jersey. The opening scenes saw Fleck, lost in his face paint ritual, in settings iconic to New Jersey, notably Newark's Market Street. "Minutes into the film, Phoenix, as the struggling comedian Arthur Fleck, holds the sign reading 'EVERYTHING MUST GO!!' outside a store. But those truly in the know would notice the nostalgic 'NEWARK' marquee of the old Paramount Theater." Although altered to NEWART in its Gotham avatar, the landmark stood proud, reminiscent of its past glory from 1886.

    Street scenes from October 2018 transformed early ’80s storefronts into vivid backdrops of pornography theaters, capturing the decay of a city amidst a garbage strike. One couldn't miss the Newart theater, brazenly flaunting the sign Strip Search.

    Gotham’s beating heart: Filming locations that spoke volumes

    It wasn’t just Newark that became Phoenix's dance floor. Jersey City's William J. Brennan Courthouse, masquerading as Wayne Hall, became the crux of a rally, against Thomas Wayne - the epitome of Gotham’s elite. The climax too, unfurled on New Jersey's streets, bringing the story full circle. From the visible Halsey Street sign during a riot to the repurposed 7-Eleven in Newark, every detail echoed the spirit of the state.

    Revisiting a legacy

    While Joker wasn't the first Batman-associated movie to be filmed in New Jersey, it surely left an indelible mark. The commitment to authenticity wasn't just in Phoenix's performance but also in the intricate details of location scouting. Today, as we traverse these streets, there's an uncanny feeling of déjà vu, as echoes of Phoenix's haunting laughter reverberate, reminding us of a cinematic masterpiece that blurred the lines between reel and real.

    (Several parts of the text in this article, including the title, were generated with the help of an AI tool.)