After being rumored for a while, Warner Bros. announced this week that Joaquin Phoenix will play The Joker in director Todd Phillips’ origin movie. The film, which begins production this fall, will be a gritty character study on the villain, and it promises to be something different in the genre.
In an interview with Collider, Phoenix talks about the project and how he got involved. He reaffirms that he puts a lot of time into considering his roles, and he praises Phillips’ vision. Most interestingly, Phoenix reveals that this was the type of comic book movie movie he thought about making years ago. “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.'”
As for how unique this movie will be, Phoenix says he wouldn’t place it in the superhero genre or any other film genre. Rather, it’s a character study fueled by Phillips’ passion. “It feels unique, and I think more than anything, and probably the most important thing, is Todd seems very passionate about it and very giving, and so that’s exciting. I think, underneath the excitement of these films, and the size of them, there are these incredible characters that are dealing with real life struggles. And sometimes that is uncovered and exposed, and sometimes it isn’t, and so I always felt, like, there were characters in comics that were really interesting and deserve the opportunity to be kind of studied. And so I think that’s what Todd sees appealing about this idea.”
The untitled Joker movie is expected to kick off a slate of movies that aren’t canon with DC Films’ shared universe. The film has a $55 million production budget, and it is expected to start shooting in September – presumably for a 2019 release.
Stay tuned for more as we have it.