Todd Phillips’ Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix is perhaps my second most anticipated film of the year next to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Right from the film’s announcement a couple of years ago, we knew we were going to be getting a comic book movie unlike anything we’ve seen before. The trailer did not disappoint. Joker looks to be a deeply psychological film that explores the iconic DC comic villain on a profound level. But it may not be a movie that pleases comic book diehards, not according to director Todd Phillips at least. In an interview with Empire, he said:
“We didn’t follow anything from the comic-books, which people are gonna be mad about. 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.”
I believe most comic book fans will agree that part of what makes Joker such a compelling character is that we don’t know much about him. His origins are rarely explored in the comic books, if ever and the same can be said about most adaptations of the character. With that in mind, I don’t know if a big screen origin story is something this character necessarily needs. At the end of the day, though, what matters is that the screenwriters/director capture the essence of the iconic comic book character and also make a good movie.
The man who becomes Joker in Todd Phillips’ movie is Arthur Fleck, a stand-up comedian who is damaged and vulnerable. And according to the director, Joaquin Phoenix (Her) was always their top choice for the role.
“I think he’s the greatest actor. 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 hitting Malaysian cinemas 3 October 2019.