The Joker movie with Joaquin Phoenix has a new – and romantic — - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

The Joker movie with Joaquin Phoenix has a new – and romantic — working title

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By Rick Marshall

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DC Comics
The Joker is more than just Batman’s most infamous enemy. He’s also one of comics’ most iconic villains, with a long history of memorable portrayals on both the big screen and television.

More than 30 years after Jack Nicholson portrayed the Clown Prince of Crime in Tim Burton’sBatman and a decade after Heath Ledger’s award-winning turn as the maniacal villain in The Dark Knight, Joker is headed back to the big screen in a solo feature intended to provide him with a new cinematic origin story. With three-time Academy Award nominee Joaquin Phoenix set to star in the film andThe Hangover director Todd Phillips behind the camera,Joker is scheduled to hit theaters October 4, 2019.

Here’s everything we know about the movie so far.

  • Title: Joker
  • Release date: October 4, 2019
  • Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert DeNiro, Zazie Beetz, Marc Maron
  • Director: Todd Phillips

The cast

Following in the footsteps of Nicholson, Ledger, and most recently Jared Leto, Her andWalk the Line starJoaquin Phoenix will play the title character inJoker, which will explore the time before he became one of DC Comics’ most terrifying villains.

joaquin phoenix
[Image courtesy of Everett Collection/Shutterstock]

“It feels unique, it is its own world in some ways, and maybe, mostly, it scares the [crap] out of me or something,” Phoenix told Collider in July 2018. “It might as well be the thing that scares you the most.”

Joining Phoenix in the cast is two-time Academy Award winner Robert DeNiro, who is expected to play a talk show host who plays a key role in sending Phoenix’s character down the dark path to becoming Joker.

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In July,Atlanta andDeadpool 2 actress Zazie Beetz (pictured above)joined the film in another, vaguely described role. Beetz will reportedly play“a single mother who catches the interest of the man who will become the Clown Prince of Crime.”

A flurry of casting reports in late July also addedAmerican Horror Story actress Frances Conroy andGLOW actor and comedian Marc Maron to the project. Conroy is expected to play the mother of Phoenix’s character, while Maron is rumored to be playing a booking agent for a talk show hosted by DeNiro’s character.

The story

Official plot details forJoker are being kept under wraps by Warner Bros. Pictures, but rumors suggest that the film will be set in Batman’s home city of Gotham in the 1980s. Phillips andScott Silver (8 Mile) penned the script for the feature.

The film will be reportedly cast Phoenix as a stand-up comedian who turns to a life of crime — and one would assume, criminal insanity — when he reaches a breaking point in his life and career. DeNiro and Maron’s characters are expected to play a major role in that evolution from struggling comedian to Clown Prince of Crime.

joker movie joaquin phoenix news killing joke
DC Comics

Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s 1988 graphic novelThe Killing Joke is rumored to be one of the primary inspirations for the film’s story. The comic, which is widely considered one of the greatest Joker stories ever told, established an origin for the character as a failed comedian who loses his wife and has his face disfigured during a botched robbery he undertakes in order to make ends meet.

The other Jokers

Although theJoker movie will tell an origin story of sorts for Batman’s notorious nemesis, the film won’t have any connection to the most recent version of the character to appear on the big screen.

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Warner Bros. Pictures has indicated thatJoker will exist in its own universe, separate from that of Jared Leto’s portrayal of the character inSuicide Squad. Leto will still bring his spin on the character back to the screen in two planned films — a team-up film with Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and a Suicide Squad sequel— which will exist in the studio’s cinematic universe of DC Comics heroes and villains, but have no narrative link toJoker.


According to Deadline,Jokerwillbegin shooting in September 2018, possibly under a new studio banner that will differentiate it from the other DC Comics films set within the same universe.

Several Hollywood heavyweights are among the project’s production crew, including cinematographer — and former Phillips collaborator — Lawrence Sher (War Dogs), designer Mark Friedberg (Selma), and casting director Shayna Markowitz (Ocean’s 8).

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