Why the Director of the ‘Joker’ Movie Thinks Some People Will Be Mad When They See It



Warner Bros.

There’s a movie focused on The Joker on the way, and as that first trailer showed, it really isn’t going to be your run-of-the-mill comic book movie fare.

Before production had even started on the film, Warner Bros. and director Todd Phillips (The Hangover trilogy, Due Date, War Dogs) were saying that this would be a very different type of DC movie, disconnected from the studio’s unfolding superhero universe and described as a “gritty character study.”



It may sound good on paper, but taking a hugely influential comic book character – one with a legion of fans – away from their comic connections could make a number of people unhappy. Phillips knows it. And for those hoping there would end up being at least some threads between this and the pages… well…

“We didn’t follow anything from the comic-books, which people are gonna be mad about,” the filmmaker has told Empire. “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.”

Yes, perhaps some comic book fans may be “mad” about there being a whole new take on the character, but a great film is a great film, so hopefully the quality of the movie wins over the majority of the masses. A big element that will determine just how this is received: Joaquin Phoenix‘s performance, taking on the role that has been inhabited by the likes of Heath Ledger, Jack Nicholson, Jared Leto, Cesar Romero and Mark Hamill (the latter, at least vocally).

“I think he’s the greatest actor,” Phillips said of Phoenix. The writer-filmmaker had the three-time Oscar nominee in mind the whole time while co-writing the screenplay with Scott Silver (8 Mile, The Fighter). “We had a photo of him above our computer while we were writing. We constantly thought, ‘God, imagine if Joaquin actually does this.'”

Joker, also starring Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro and Brian Tyree Henry, opens in Australia on October 3 and in the US on October 4.

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

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Guillermo, Founder and Manager of Screen Realm, lives and breathes all things screen and pop culture. He has over eight years' experience in the media landscape in a career that has encompassed television, radio, and the online space. When he's not working hard on Screen Realm, you can find him at a local Sydney cinema or catching up on his ever-growing list of must-watch TV shows.