Production for Todd Phillips‘ Joker movie is officially underway, and several glimpses of Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck (pre-Joker) have hit the Internet. Courtesy of Phillips’ Instagram account, you can see a closeup of a noticeably slimmed-down Phoenix as Fleck directly below, presumably prior to the infamous ‘One Bad Day’ that sends the failed comedian spiraling into madness and becoming the Clown Prince of Crime.
Several presumed onset Joker photos of Phoenix laughing maniacally while honking a clown’s nose have also surfaced at Just Jared, while a video taken onset by Twitter user JNAPIER provides a great look at Phoenix bursting out of a building as a man dressed as a clown follows him. The two get into an argument, and Fleck bemusedly listens to the clown while smoking a cigarette, eventually growing more serious as he grabs the clown’s red nose and tosses it down the street. You can view the video below.
— ᴊɴᴀᴘɪᴇʀ. (@JNapierrr) September 17, 2018
Phillips’ Joker movie is unconnected to the DC Extended Universe, meaning that Jared Leto‘s portrayal of the Joker in Suicide Squad (and assumed future roles in multiple films) still exists as separate from this standalone origin story. While this may be confusing to non-comic-book fans (and perplexing to comic fans), it appears that Warner Bros. and DC believe in the compelling nature of the story that Phillips and co-writer Scott Silver are bringing to the table. With the talent of Phoenix, one of the great actors of our generation, on-board, along with Robert De Niro, Marc Maron, and Zazie Beetz, there is little reason to doubt the film’s potential for excellence.
The story is said to examine what it took for the Joker to become a mastermind criminal and supervillain, feeling more like a gritty crime drama than your typical superhero or comic book film. Rumors abound that the plot contains many elements from The Killing Joke graphic novel, which not only touches upon the Joker’s origin story, but features arguably the most intense face-off between Batman and the Joker. Sources also claim that the film’s budget is aiming for quality over quantity, trying to stay in the $60 million range. Recently, word surfaced that Alec Baldwin almost played Bruce Wayne’s (aka Batman’s) father Thomas Wayne, but he dropped out of the film almost immediately, noting that “there are 25 guys who can play that role.”
The standalone Joker movie is currently scheduled to hit theaters on October 4, 2019.