DC Entertainment’s Joker origin film is officially greenlit, with a tentative starting shoot day this fall. Joaquin Phoenix will play the Batman arch-nemesis in the film, directed by The Hangover and War Dogs director Todd Phillips, and will apparently be a very different film than the other DC Comics films we’ve seen recently according to Variety:
Variety first reported that Phoenix was in talks to play the Clown Prince of Crime. As soon as his deal was finalized, the studio gave the greenlight to a September start date with a budget in the moderate $55 million dollar range.
$55 million is not very much for a film that will be part of a superhero franchise, possibly leading to something quite interesting with the finished product. Still, you have to wonder where Batman will fit into this — if he does at all. The film will reportedly deal with what it takes for a character like The Joker to fall into madness and become a master criminal.
Many have pointed to The Killing Joke as the basis for the film’s origin story, but that seems to be questionable. Will it be The Joker narrating his own origin to the camera, giving Phoenix most of the film to play outside of any makeup and create a dramatic story that won’t feature any crazy plots or superhero setpieces? Who knows? We might not get any Joker until the very end of the film if it all goes as reserved as it could be.
Will fans show up to a Joker origin film that’s light on the actual Joker — and Batman? We’ll just have to wait and see. And then we’ll have to wait and see again because Jared Leto’s version will surely be in theaters soon after this one. It’s all coming up Joker!