From a petty criminal who falls into a vat of acid to the killer of Bruce Wayne’s parents, there’s been a wide variety of backstories to Batman’s archenemy The Joker – but Todd Phillips’s upcoming take on the Clown Prince of Crime won’t be based on any of them.
“We didn’t follow anything from the comic books, which people are gonna be mad about,” he said. “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.”
Phillips and producer Martin Scorsese’s biopic will be set in the ’80s, and it will portray the iconic villain as a failed stand-up comic called Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), who turns to a life of crime and chaos after bombing with audiences.
That premise actually sounds a lot like Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s seminal graphic novel The Killing Joke, but Phillips’s comments suggest the comparisons end there.
On casting Phoenix as the new Joker, Phillips revealed that the actor was always their first choice.
“I think he’s the greatest actor,” he said. “We had a photo of him above our computer while we were writing. We constantly thought, ‘God, imagine if Joaquin actually does this’.”
Joker will be released on October 4, 2019.