The trend of “gritty” comic book film adaptations appears to be continuing with the upcoming DC Comics movie retelling the origin story of The Joker — the most iconic villain in the Batman pantheon — which is set to begin filming in late September, according to the comic book news site CBR. According to a report published on Wednesday, the new Joker film starring Joaquin Phoenix as the macabre bad guy will likely receive an “R” rating.
As the Inquisitr reported earlier this month, the film was announced by Warner Bros., the Hollywood studio that owns the DC Comics characters, earlier this month and was budgeted at a relatively modest — by 2018 standards — $55 million. By comparison, Warner’s hit 2017 DC Comics film Wonder Woman cost $149 million, according to Box Office Mojo, while the most recent DC movie to feature The Joker as a villain, 2016’s Suicide Squad, had a $175 million budget.
But R-rated comic book adaptations in the superhero genre have been relatively rare and involve a greater financial risk to studios because the rating excludes a large segment of the potential audience, kids under age 17. The 2016 Marvel Comics-based superhero film Deadpool was produced on a $58 million budget, per Box Office Mojo, and was released with an “R” rating, primarily due to a high level of graphic violence in the film.
But according to a report on the site Geeks WorldWide, the upcoming Joker film — which has yet to receive a title — will receive an “R” rating due to brief scenes of female nudity.
“Our first assumption hearing this is that (Director Todd Phillips) might be casting actresses to play strippers in the film,” wrote the site. “Most likely a cue that the real-life world of stand-up comedians will be explored in the film, as a lot of comedians take gigs in strip clubs…. Basically, it sounds like Todd is really digging deep here for the authenticity of the subject matter.”
While The Joker character has been given several varying “origin” stories in the DC Batman comic books, one popular telling of the character’s beginnings portrays The Joker as a failed stand-up comedian who turns to crime to make ends meet, becoming a villain known as “The Red Hood,” according to a history of The Joker by the site Nerdist.
The “comedian” version of The Joker’s origin was created by English comic book writer Alan Moore and artist Brian Bolland in their 1988 graphic novel The Killing Joke. But Moore and Bolland’s version was simply an embellishment of the first Joker origin story scripted in 1951 by original Batman writer Bill Finger and drawn by artists Lew Sayre Schwartz and Win Mortimer, according to the blog Graeme’s Literary Time Machine. In Finger’s version, the Joker was originally The Red Hood, but his history as a stand-up comedian is nowhere to be found.