In a move guaranteed to either excite or enrage legions of DC fans, Warner Bros. is officially making a standalone Joker film. Set for release in Fall 2019, Joker follows the Clown Prince of Crime's origin as a comedian struggling to make it big. It already boasts a high-profile cast, and the storyline will reportedly exist entirely independent of previous DC Extended Universe films.
Many suspect Joker, a reportedly low-budget and dark endeavor, could join the ranks of R-rated superhero films. After the fan backlash against Jared Leto's Joker, WB and DC have their work cut out for them with the Joker origin film.
The Film Features Dante Pereira-Olson As A Young Bruce Wayne And Douglas Hodge As Alfred Pennyworth
On October 23, 2018, ComicBook learned that Douglas Hodge (Penny Dreadful) and Dante Pereira-Olson (You Were Never Really Here) joined the rest of cast of the standalone film. Hodge plays Alfred Pennyworth, the Wayne family's steadfast and trustworthy butler who eventually becomes Wayne's guardian.
Perierra-Olson is stepping into the role of a young Bruce Wayne. While the details of the story are heavily guarded, Warner Bros. did reveal that the roles would be on the smaller side.
Joaquin Phoenix Plays The Titular Character
Acclaimed actor Joaquin Phoenix is playing the Joker, which is the type of role he's wanted for some time now. He told Collider,
Three or four years ago, I called my agent and said, "Why don’t they want to take one of these characters and just make a lower budget film about it, a movie but a character study, and why not take one of the villains?" And I thought, "You can’t do the Joker, because, you know, it’s just you can’t do that character, it’s just been done." So I was trying to think of other characters, and he said, "I’ll set up a general meeting with Warner Bros." And I said "I’m not gonna go, I can’t go to a general meeting." So I completely forgot about it, and so then I heard about this idea, I was like, "Oh that’s so exciting, that’s the kind of experience I wanted to have, with a movie based on a comic character." I felt like you could get something on screen.
Phoenix said this project feels "unique," adding that it "scares the f*cking sh*t out of [him]." On September 16, 2018, fans got a sneak peek of Phoenix as the Joker.
The surreptitious set photos show Phoenix in character. In a few shots, he's standing in front of a building with the words "Amusement Mile" painted on its side. In the comics, Amusement Mile is part of Gotham City.
Alec Baldwin Signed On To Play Bruce Wayne's Father - And Then Quit Two Days Later
On August 27, 2018, Alec Baldwin reportedly joined Joaquin Phoenix and company in Joker. Baldwin signed on to play Thomas Wayne, the father who gets gunned down by a robber and orphans Bruce Wayne, who becomes Batman. In the comics, Thomas is a respected doctor and philanthropist but, according to The Hollywood Reporter, "sources say the script paints Thomas Wayne as a cheesy and tanned businessman who is more in the mold of a 1980s Donald Trump."
Two days later, Baldwin contested the reports, tweeting that he had "NOT been hired to play a role in Todd Phillips' JOKER as some Donald Trump manque. That is not happening. Not. Happening." He then spoke to USA Today, saying he dropped out of the role due to scheduling conflicts. He added, "I'm no longer doing that movie. I'm sure there are 25 guys who can play that part."
The Origin Story Takes Place In The '80s And Stands Alone From Other DC Films
Set in the '80s, the upcoming film centers around struggling comic Arthur Fleck, who eventually becomes the Joker. Rather than tying into the rest of the DC Extended Universe, though, producers intend to keep Joker as a standalone film.
This concept will allow the studio more liberty with the story, which several sources suspect may be gritty enough to warrant an R-rating - something that would set it apart from most other superhero films.