While there have been several films that have delved into the background of the Caped Crusader, Batman, not much is known about his arch rival, the Joker. However, filmmaker Todd Phillips (The Hangover trilogy) is about to change that with his origin movie about the crazy clown, headlined by Joaquin Phoenix.
In July, the Inquisitr first reported that Warner Bros. was developing a film based on the DC Comics villain. Currently untitled, the standalone movie, set in the 1980s, will explore the Joker’s background, including what led him to become the maniacal, clown-faced Harlequin of Hate.
The $55 million production recently began filming in New York City with Phillips serving as director of the flick that he co-wrote along with Scott Silver (8 Mile).
On Instagram, on Sunday, September 16, Phillips officially revealed the first photograph of Phoenix in character, looking weathered and sporting a horrible hairstyle. And (spoiler alert) his caption simply stated the Joker’s real first name: “Arthur.”
While Phoenix is not pictured with the Joker’s traditional clown makeup or green hair, it is quite interesting to see what the man looks like before his big transition.
Meanwhile, on the same day, the Daily Mail released video footage shot on the film’s gritty set in Harlem, New York, in which Phoenix and an unidentified actor in clown makeup are shooting a scene.
In the short clip, viewers can’t hear what the two are saying, but they appear to be arguing as they walk along filthy streets with classic cars passing them by. At the end of the video, Phoenix, who is smoking a cigarette, grabs the red nose off of the clown’s face, tosses it into the street, and strolls away.
Joaquin Phoenix spotted in character as The Joker for the first time as filming starts on the origins story https://t.co/GlLuDKtPlv— Daily Mail Celebrity (@DailyMailCeleb) September 16, 2018
“I wouldn’t say [the film is] a superhero movie, or a studio movie… it feels unique,” Phoenix, 43, said in a July interview with Collider.
“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. And sometimes that is uncovered and exposed, and sometimes it isn’t, and so I always felt like there were characters in comics that were really interesting and deserve the opportunity to be kind of studied. And, so, I think that’s what Todd sees appealing about this idea.”
Robert De Niro (The Godfather Part II), Zazie Beetz (Atlanta), Frances Conroy (American Horror Story), and Marc Maron (Glow) have co-starring roles in the movie, which is scheduled to hit the silver screen on October 4, 2019.
Actor Jared Leto, who played the Joker in 2016’s Suicide Squad, will also shoot a standalone film centered on the Clown Prince of Crime. However, the two Joker movies have nothing to do with one another and, according to Variety, Phoenix’s version will not have any affect on Warner Bros.’ DC Universe, but Leto’s will.