Following the debut of the magazine’s Joker newsstand and subscriber covers, Empire has revealed more from their interview with director Todd Phillips. The filmmaker says that the Joker plot does not come at all from the comics.
“We didn’t follow anything from the comic books, which people are gonna be mad about,” Phillips says. “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.”
He added that they always wanted Joaquin Phoenix to play the lead role of Arthur Fleck. “I think he’s the greatest actor,” says Phillips. “We had a photo of him above our computer while we were writing. We constantly thought, ‘God, imagine if Joaquin actually does this.’”
The Warner Bros. Pictures release stars Oscar nominee Phoenix in the title role, alongside Oscar winner Robert De Niro, and it is directed, produced and co-written by Oscar nominee Phillips.
The Joker plot centers around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.
The film also stars Zazie Beetz (Deadpool 2), Bill Camp (Red Sparrow, Molly’s Game), Frances Conroy (American Horror Story, Castle Rock), Brett Cullen (42, Narcos), Glenn Fleshler (Billions, Barry), Douglas Hodge (Red Sparrow, Penny Dreadful), Marc Maron (Maron, Glow), Josh Pais (upcoming Motherless Brooklyn, Going in Style), and Shea Whigham (upcoming First Man, Kong: Skull Island).
Phillips (The Hangover trilogy) directs from a screenplay he co-wrote with writer Scott Silver (The Fighter), based on characters from DC. The film is being produced by Phillips and Bradley Cooper under their Joint Effort banner, and Emma Tillinger Koskoff. It is executive produced by Richard Baratta, Michael Uslan, Joseph Garner and Bruce Berman.
Joker is set for release October 4, 2019, and will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures.