A New King of Comedy

Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix are about to do an unthinkable task: give the Joker an origin. The team, that includes producer Martin Scorsese, are looking to put a gangster spin on the supervillain’s origins. A film that will take place outside of DCEU continuity. So this will be an experiment of sorts. It’s not the first time a studio has asked audiences to believe another actor in the same role, looking at you War Machine and Hulk. But at the same time as Jared Leto’s Joker is getting his own movie? It’s an intriguing prospect. One that’s about to begin as the movie ramps up for a fall production start.

According to Omega Underground, the film will begin shooting as early as September in New York City. This corroborates a lot of information about the film. First of all, this was the first announced Joker film. A Martin Scorcese and Todd Phillips Joker film has been rumored for a number of months. Leto’s was just announced. Moreover, DC wants to experiment with films outside of the DCEU. This will be the third DC Film to go into production under the eye of Producer Walter Hamada. Todd Phillips and Scorsese alone could excite a fanbase, throw Joaquin Phoenix into the mix and things get electrifying. Or embarrassingly bad.

An Unknown Beginning

Martin Scorsese has a similar producing track record to that of Steven Spielberg. Expect any project that includes their name as producers to be more about style and appeal, rather than personal involvement in the film. Mind you, the presence of an actor like Joaquin Phoenix might change that.

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Phillips doesn’t have quite as solid of a following. His most recent film, War Dogs, has a 59% on Rotten TomatoesThere’s a reason you haven’t heard about it. And yes, he’s responsible for The Hangover films. But let’s not forget he’s responsible for all of The Hangover films. Hopefully the guidance of Scorcese can bring out the director of Old School instead of The Hangover Part III. 

The most appealing part of this film is that these guys clearly have an idea. Phillips was probably the first person to pitch a Joker origin film, but mixing the style with Scorsese’s The King of Comedy is inspired. That film had Robert De Niro depicting a comedian spiraling out of control and into a night of kidnapping and tension. It’s a story that’s been copied a million times on your favorite TV shows.

This isn’t the first time the Joker has been a failed comedian in a big city, just look at The Killing Joke. But a realistic Gotham City that drags a simple buffoon into the life of a horrifying villain…now, that’s a story. Joaquin Phoenix is the perfect kind of madman to put on the make-up and suit.

It’s unknown if he’ll have any heroes to antagonize, but Joker needs to have some fun in his own film, doesn’t he? Do you think Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker should get his own Batman to fight?

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About The Author

Daniel Mills
Batman & DC Writer

Daniel Mills is a screenwriter and director working in Los Angeles, California. Far too many comics and Forgotten Realms-novels led him to want to tell stories of his own. From articles and opinion pieces to reviews and screenplays, he sees every new opportunity as another new realm waiting to be explored.

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