Todd Phillips‘ upcoming low-budget, character-study Joker film is shaping up to be an odd beast, with a cast ranging from Zazie Beetz to Robert De Niro, actors hopping aboard and then immediately jumping ship, and a story that sounds like nothing we’ve seen from the Batman universe on a big-screen before. Basically, we know nothing. But today, Phillips at least gave us a glimpse into this enigmatic film, releasing the first look at Joaquin Phoenix as, presumably, the man who will become the Clown Prince of Crime.
His name is Arthur.
It’s hard to get much from this image, which looks like a cross between Phoenix in Inherent Vice and Jim Carrey as Mr. Pickles in Showtime’s Kidding. But we weren’t exactly expecting to see the Oscar-nominee with full face-paint and neon green hair. Reports have painted the film as a King of Comedy-influenced origin story, with Phoenix portraying a down-on-his-luck 80’s comedian who [via The Wrap] “becomes the clown prince of crime after bombing with audiences.”
As for the name, the only instance that comes to mind is Arthur Reeves, the slimy city councilman who played a major part in the fantastic animated film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. But the vagueness of the name is just another part of this movie’s mystique; if you’re going to tell a Joker origin story, it makes sense to leave your options wide open. No word on exactly when Arthur chooses to get the word “damaged” tattooed across his forehead, but we’ll keep you posted.
UPDATE: Phillips’ caption seems to confirm a report from That Hashtag Show back in July that Phoenix’s character would be named “Arthur Fleck.” Feel free to pop that into an anagram maker, internet.
Check out the image below. Joker is currently filming and set for an October 2019 release date.
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