Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar-Winning Role in ‘Joker’ Gets Accused of Being a Rip-Off of Controversial Natalie Portman Film Ahead of Sequel Release


As Joaquin Phoenix prepares for the release of his Joker sequel alongside Lady Gaga, his 2019 standalone iteration gets slammed online. Compared with Natalie Portman’s controversial 2010 movie Black Swan, Phoenix’s DC flick gets accused of being an exact rip-off of the film.

Joaquin Phoenix in Joker
Joaquin Phoenix as and in Joker

Comparing scenes from both movies and even addressing the similarities in the plot, netizens began bashing Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker for bagging interesting elements from Black Swan. Meanwhile, Natalie Portman’s Oscar-winning movie faced criticism following the controversies regarding “dancing doubles”, as ballerinas Sarah Lane and Skylar Brandt broke their silence.

Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Accused of Copying Black Swan

After Heath Ledger’s iconic performance as DC’s Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy, fans believed that there would be no one better suited for the eccentric role. However, they were proved wrong when Joaquin Phoenix took on the role of the Crowned Prince of Crime in the 2019 standalone movie Joker. Playing the titular role and adding depth to the character, Phoenix not only earned positive reviews but also bagged an Oscar.

However, while Joaquin Phoenix currently prepares for the release of the upcoming sequel for Joker alongside Lady Gaga, the actor and his 2019 movie get slammed by netizens. Years after the release of the standalone DC movie, fans began taking great interest in comparing the film with another incredible project sharing a somewhat similar storyline. According to tweets, fans compared Joker with Natalie Portman’s Black Swan.

Lady Gaga and Joaquin Phoenix in Joker 2
Lady Gaga and Joaquin Phoenix in Joker: Folie à Deux

Addressing how the 2010 movie is a classic psychological thriller, while Joker is a comic book-inspired movie with deep psychological elements, netizens even began scene-by-scene comparison. Sharing a collage of sequences from both movies that look strikingly similar, netizens began criticizing Joaquin Phoenix’s movie for being an exact rip-off of Black Swan.

Calling out Joaquin Phoenix’s DC flick for sharing thematic parallels with Natalie Portman’s movie, netizens point out how both movies have their lead character’s psychological transformations at the center. While keeping the concept of mental health as the core of the storyline, fans address how both the characters descend into complex psychological turmoils through the film.

Natalie Portman’s Black Swan Faces Major Controversies

While Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker got accused of plagiarism ahead of the release of Joker: Folie à  Deux in 2024, fans didn’t leave Natalie Portman‘s Black Swan out of controversy. Amid Joker’s criticism, netizens call out Portman’s Oscar-winning performance after the “dancing double” controversy. Slamming the actress for taking away deserving credit from the dancers who enacted the moves throughout the film, people seemingly call out Black Swan.

According to DailyMail, the controversies began after Natalie Portman famously claimed during interviews, both before and after her Oscar win, that she was solely responsible for a large portion of the dancing in the film. Claiming to have prepared for a year ahead of production, Portman’s words were corroborated by director Darren Aronofsky, who noted that it was “all Natalie” during the film’s many dance sequences.

Natalie Portman in a still from Black Swan
Natalie Portman in a still from Black Swan

However, things changed after American Ballet soloist Sarah Lane, who appeared as Portman’s body double in the movie, broke her silence. Stating that she was responsible for “almost all” of the dancing in the film, Lane told The Wall Street Journal that Portman’s face was later digitally applied to her body.

She’s an amazing actor. I can’t act like that. But to say that she did all of the dancing is absolutely ridiculous to anyone that knows anything about ballet.

Natalie Portman in Black Swan
Natalie Portman in Black Swan (2010)

Following Sarah Lane’s notorious revelation, American Ballet Theatre principal Skylar Brant weighed in on the Black Swan dancing scandal. Supporting Lane for calling out Natalie Portman, Brant claimed that professional dancers were justified in their criticism of the actress after she denied gratitude to the deserving dancers.

Black Swan is available on Apple TV.

Joker is available on Max.

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