There are few characters that capture the public’s imagination quite like the Joker. Deranged, diabolical, and anarchic, Batman’s greatest foe is a mirror for the Caped Crusader’s own morally questionable behavior.
The character has been played by Oscar winners Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, and Jared Leto, all of whom took the character in different directions. But if there were one unifying trait, it’s that their Joker depictions portrayed a fully fledged supervillain, not the man who would be dragged so low he'd feel compelled to don face paint and wreak havoc on Gotham City.
When the standalone Joker movie was announced in July 2018, there was renewed interest in the character following a tepid reception for Leto’s portrayal in Suicide Squad. This was due both to the film being billed as the definitive origin story of the Clown Prince of Crime, supposedly rooted in gritty character studies such as Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, and the casting of another Academy Award nominee, Joaquin Phoenix, in the title role.
Ledger’s portrayal is arguably the gold standard of showing who this man became, but Phoenix looks set to answer the question “Why?”
With plenty of questions looming and information about the film starting to come out, here is everything we know so far about 2019's Joker movie.
What is the Joker movie about?
The Joker movie will chart the villain's origins. Set in ’80s Gotham City, the film follows Arthur Fleck, a failed stand-up comedian who becomes the sadistic Clown Prince of Crime. According to reports, the plot draws from Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke, which also focuses on a comedian who, after experiencing a number of horrific events, assumes the role of the Joker.
The film is also said to have been inspired by gritty Martin Scorsese (who was originally onboard as an executive producer) classics such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and The King of Comedy.
Who's starring in 2019's Joker movie?
Todd Phillips, best known for helming The Hangover trilogy, directs his and Scott Silver's (8 Mile, The Fighter) screenplay. The Joker movie cast features Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck/the Joker. Robert De Niro plays Murray Franklin, a talk show host who plays a role in Fleck's downfall. Zazie Beetz (Deadpool 2) stars as Arthur's love interest, Sophie Dumond. Elsewhere, WTF podcast presenter Marc Maron plays Ted Marco, and Brett Cullen, who played a congressman in The Dark Knight Rises, gets upgraded to Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne/Batman's dad.
What is the movie rated?
Director Todd Phillips has revealed that 2019's Joker will in fact be R-rated. Phillips made the news known by responding to a fan inquiry on his Instagram. "It will be Rated R. I’ve been asked this a lot. Just assumed people knew,” he said.
Joker movie trailers
The first teaser trailer for 2019's Joker movie arrived at the start of April, delivering our first real look at Joaquin Phoenix's portrayal of Fleck/the Joker. Watch above.
When is Joker out in theaters?
The Joker movie is set to land in theaters in the US on October 4, 2019.
How will Joker fit into the DCEU?
While part of the DC Extended Universe, Joker will not be connected with Heath Ledger or Jared Leto's films, which means it isn't linked to Justice League, Suicide Squad, Birds of Prey, or any other upcoming DC movie that we know of yet.