Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Joaquin Phoenix's Joker spin-off movie is actually happening

Illustration for article titled Joaquin Phoenixis Joker /ispin-off movie is actually happeningem/em
Photo: Pascal Le Segretain (Getty Images)

Just in case you thought today’s news couldn’t get any funnier, The Hollywood Reporter is Hollywood reporting that Warner Bros. has officially given the proverbial green light to a movie about the Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix. This is a separate project from Jared Leto’s Joker movie, which got a green light of its own just last month, meaning this is technically unrelated to the current run of DC Comic movies like Justice League and Suicide Squad. As far as we know, it’ll be a totally separate universe that just happens to be about a clown-themed criminal called the Joker who likes to antagonize a guy named Batman.


This Joker movie comes from director and co-writer Todd Phillips, and it’ll apparently be a dark and gritty character study on what drives a man to become a ridiculous clown-themed criminal. It’ll supposedly be lifting some elements from Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke, specifically the stuff about the Joker’s origin as a struggling 1980s comedian who gets set up as a patsy in a big heist. Batman plays a big role in that origin in the original comic, but so far nobody has mentioned if the Caped Crusader himself will actually appear in the movie. Considering how deeply linked every other incarnation of the Joker and Batman are, it’s going to be really weird if Phillips tries to find a way to establish the Joker as a character who is wholly independent from his famous nemesis.

The budget for this movie is “significantly lower” than most other superhero movies, and it’ll reportedly be more of a “crime drama” that is “darker and more experimental in tone” than the average comic book adaptation.

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