‘Joker’ Director Says the Movie Will be Different Than the Comics

Posted 2019/07/081170

Comic book fans may be a little upset with this one when it comes to this fall’s movie Joker. The awaited film is about the origins of the madman DC Comics villain, an iconic foe of the famed Dark Knight, co-writer and director Todd Phillips says they pulled absolutely nothing from the source material to craft this story.

Indeed, the film originated when Phillips—the filmmaker behind the The Hangover trilogy and most recently War Dogs—went to Warner Bros. with the idea of making a movie about The Joker in the vein of Taxi Driver.

The pitch was to set it in early 80s New York City, craft a gritty, R-rated origin story, and cast a great actor in the lead role. No expectations. No franchise setup. Just a unique twist on an iconic character.

DC’s resident clown prince of crime will finally take centre stage in his own origin film when Joker debuts in theatres in October. While the film has been shrouded in mystery since it dropped the first trailer, we now know that the film will not be drawing on its titular character’s rich comic history.

Speaking with Empire, director Todd Phillips revealed that the film will be an entirely fresh take on the material, instead of using various comics to base the film on.

“We didn’t follow anything from the comic-books, which people are gonna be mad about,” Phillips tells Empire. “We just wrote our own version of where a guy like Joker might come from.”

At first glance, it is easy to worry about the statement. But in reality, this is probably the best possible move. Positioned as an “elseworlds” film instead of having it planted within the current DC film universe allows for the Phillips and co. to really hone in on an original take on the character.

Joker is someone who has been a mainstay in the DC Comics-verse, but has never officially been given an origin (sans Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke). Joaquin Phoenix has no restrictions, and he doesn’t have to adhere to any certain aspects of Joker.

Phillips, who co-wrote the film in addition to directing, added that the film doesn’t really tackle The Joker himself but rather, the events that led a broken man down the path that ends with him becoming Batman’s greatest enemy:

“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 Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck.”

Check out the brand new image revealed of Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck/Joker below:

Joker

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