Joker director Todd Phillips says that the Joaquin Phoenix film will not be taking anything from the comic books.
In a world exclusive, Empire magazine’s August issue gives the cover story to the Todd Phillips movie.
The low-budget movie will, it seems, be tearing up the stories and creating a whole new origin story for the iconic character long known as the “Clown Prince Of Crime”.
The trailer has been out for some time, showing some initial similarities to Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke, the comic-book that first revealed the origins of the Joker. But it’s a superficial resemblance.
In The Killing Joke, Joker starts out as a would-be comedian who gets involved with the mob and ends up in a vat of chemicals at the hands of Batman.
In the Empire interview Phillips said “We didn’t follow anything from the comic-books, which people are gonna be mad about. We just wrote our own version of where a guy like Joker might come from…… We’re not even doing Joker, but the story of becoming Joker. It’s about this man.”
Joaquin Phoenix is following in the footsteps of around 22 people who have played The Joker on-screen in film or TV, including Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger. But this movie promises a wholly original take on the man behind the make-up.
The film is set in 1981. The trailer shows Phoenix playing Arthur Fleck, a frail, vulnerable character taking care of his mother. An aspiring stand-up comedian attempting to bring laughter to the world – and failing.
He’s an outsider, at odds with the world, drifting dejectedly from stand-up to clown to victim teetering on the edge of, then slipping almost gratefully into full on insanity. It’s a dark, tragic take on the story, very different from recent DC movie offerings, like Wonder Woman and Aquaman.
The movie has an R rating (US), which in UK usually receives a 15 rating, meaning anyone under 15 doesn’t get in. This reflects the fact it is a darker, more disturbing tale than we’ve been used to from the DC stable.
The film also stars Robert De Niro, Frances Conroy and Zazie Beets. It opens in cinemas on October 4th.