Throughout the production of his Joaquin Phoenix-starring film Joker, director Todd Phillips has regularly shared photo teases of the actor in costume (and, presumably, in character) as the iconic Batman villain. Principal photography on the project, which is slated for an October 4th theatrical release, has since concluded, but that hasn’t stopped Phillips from sharing more hints on social media. Like Friday’s black-and-white shot of Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, the man who will presumably become the Clown Prince of Crime.
The photo, which Phillips accompanied only with the word “Editing” and the hashtag “#Joker,” sees Phoenix not wearing any of the otherwise recognizable Joker makeup that comic book fans (and comic book movie attendees) have become all too familiar with. Gone are the purple vestments and the hastily self-applied face makeup. All that remains is Fleck, who has been previously described as a down-on-his-luck stand-up comedian ostracized by society who ultimately goes insane and goes on a crime spree.
As with Phillips’s previous teases, Friday’s photo reveals very little about the film itself. However, with Robert De Niro playing a talk show host and Marc Maron playing his booking agent, there could be something to the fact that Phoenix’s Fleck is staring at a television set adorned with a VCR and littered with marked videotapes. Maybe this is our first look at the beginning of the character’s downward spiral as he watched comic after comic makes it on to De Niro’s talk show, all while he’s left to watch other’s success.
That, or it’s just another one of Phillips’s out-of-context Instagram teases. Joker laughs its way into theaters on October 4th.