There is, somehow (luckily?), only one major “superhero” movie left this year. It also might be the best. Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, and Marc Maron, is a more grounded spin on the Clown Prince of Crime than we’re used to. Which is to say, it doesn’t look twisted. But it will make people mad (hopefully in a different way than Jared Leto’s Joker). That’s according to director Todd Phillips in an interview with Empire magazine, where he also revealed that the plot is original, and not taken from any specific comic.
“We didn’t follow anything from the comic books, which people are gonna be mad about,” the Old School helmer said. “We just wrote our own version of where a guy like Joker might come from. That’s what was interesting to me. We’re not even doing Joker, but the story of becoming Joker. It’s about this man.” That man being failed comedian Arthur Fleck, who Maron described as a “mentally ill person that becomes the Joker.” But who are his guys?
Phillips, who has worked with everyone from Bradley Cooper to Robert Downey, Jr. to Will Ferrell, also called Phoenix “the greatest actor. We had a photo of him above our computer while we were writing. We constantly thought, god, imagine if Joaquin actually does this.” Phillips didn’t specify which photo, but I assume it was this one.
Joker opens on October 4.