The closer we get to Joker’s release, the more interested I am in the movie. I can’t help myself since every scrap of footage, every set photo, and even its rating makes this look like such an odd but potentially captivating comic book movie. It’s not framed like a comic book movie with the tone being bleak and bordering nihilistic. The approach to the character so far has been one that, even if the movie is a disaster, will go down as a brave and risky take on the Clown Prince of Crime. To add fuel to the fire that is my interest level, if writer/director Todd Phillips is to be believed it will be an original, never-before-seen take on the character.
Ahead of Empire’s August issue, which will heavily focus on the upcoming DC project, an excerpt of an interview with Phillips released online where he states that his version of the character will be completely unique to his movie. Phillips states that, “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. That’s what was interesting to me. We’re not even doing Joker, but the story of becoming Joker. It’s about this man.”
It’s the last part that piqued my interest on this portrayal. If Phillips is to be believed, Joker is shaping up to be a movie about how Arthur Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix, will become the Joker at the end of the movie. The end goal is that he will be a psychopath, but the movie will explain the how and the why without featuring any superhero shenanigans. It’ll just be how a normal guy gets beaten down relentlessly by life until he decides to fight back, at least in theory. As for whether or not this will be completely unique is a little hard to believe. With a character that’s been around for nearly a century, it’ll be almost impossible to tell an origin story about him that doesn’t have shades of prior Joke stories. If there’s a single reference to Arthur having “one bad day,” then you can kiss that originality goodbye, but we’ll just have to wait and see if Phillips’ claims hold water.
Joker releases October 4, 2019.