A less charitable way of describing Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Entertainment’s burgeoning superhero film universe is…that it is a mess. From the somewhat hurried production of “Justice League”, the better to have a team movie out against rival Disney-Marvel’s “Avengers” on the MCU franchise, to staff and casting troubles like with Henry Cavill as Superman, the direction of the DCEU seems all over the place. And that is not to mention the other projects with stories not connected to the franchise, like the standalone “Joker” film starring Joaquin Phoenix. Speaking of which, there is a teaser photo out now.
Entertainment Weekly tells us that a preview of Joaquin Phoenix in character for Warner-DC’s non-DCEU film “Joker” has just been shared on social media by the movie’s director, Todd Philips. If you were expecting a white face and a sick grin on the actor however, you might be taken by surprise. The teaser picture shows Phoenix in regular stage makeup as an unassuming guy with somewhat unkempt long hair.
Philips captioned the photo as “Arthur”, the name of Phoenix’s character. But as he is already cast as the Joker, Batman’s prime nemesis in the comics and other media, the implications are that this is the man before he became Gotham City’s Clown Prince of Crime and all-out harbinger of chaos. Such a character history for the Joker – which has so many variants that a casual follower might get confused – is primarily based on the hit “Batman” graphic novel “The Killing Joke”, which shows how the Joker gained his signature bleached skin and utterly insane personality.
Warner-DC’s “Joker” standalone movie has been receiving comparisons in theme to Martin Scorsese’s 1976 neo-noir film “Taxi Driver” starring Robert De Niro, but Joaquin Phoenix is asking fans to hold their horses with the search for parallelisms. “I wouldn’t quite classify this as like any genre,” he says. “I wouldn’t say it’s a superhero movie, or a studio movie or a… It feels unique, and I think more than anything, and probably the most important thing, is Todd seems very passionate about it and very giving, and so that’s exciting. I think, underneath the excitement of these films, and the size of them, there are these incredible characters that are dealing with real life struggles.”
The official movie blurb describes “Joker” as a story exploring the life a man disregarded by society, and how that leads to consequences in both a “gritty character study” and “broader cautionary tale”. Production on the film has begun, with a premiere slated for 2019. Joaquin Phoenix will be joining the likes of Jack Nicholson, the late Heath Ledger and Jared Leto in portraying the Joker on the big screen.
Image courtesy of Collider