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The 'Joker' Director Knows Fans Will Be Mad About His Joaquin Phoenix Movie

Esquire logo Esquire 2019-07-09 Justin Kirkland
a man wearing a suit and tie: Todd Phillips, the director of Joaquin Phoenix's Joker movie, is ready for backlash from fans because he did not use source material from the comics. © Warner Bros. Todd Phillips, the director of Joaquin Phoenix's Joker movie, is ready for backlash from fans because he did not use source material from the comics. When the new Joker movie starring Joaquin Phoenix comes out, don’t expect the film to take a page from the comics. Literally. The writers of Joker didn’t take "anything" from the comics, according to a new interview. This Joker origin story is strictly a new interpretation, and according to writer and director Todd Phillips, the team behind the film is ready for the backlash.

In an interview with Empire, the director said that the plan behind the upcoming Joker movie was more about creating an origin story about Arthur Fleck and less about what Joker fans might have seen before. “We just wrote our own version of where a guy like Joker might come from. That’s what was interesting to me," he said. "We’re not even doing Joker, but the story of becoming Joker. It’s about this man.”

Watch: Joker 2019 trailer (Popular Mechanics)

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Though no official origin story has been established, most of the Joker’s background stems from the general narrative that he was a guy (typically a lab tech) who turned to crime under the disguise of the criminal Red Hood before falling in a chemical vat that alters his appearance. It wasn’t until the late '80s that the character had a background in stand up comedy added in-a premise loosely used in the upcoming Joker film. Outside of that, don’t get too comfortable with what might have been depicted before. “We didn’t follow anything from the comic-books,” Phillips says, “which people are gonna be mad about.” With that being said, there was never any promises that Phillips' version was going to rely much on the comic foundation for the wide-smiled super villain, leaving Joker in some interesting territory.

Warner Bros.’ dark take on the evil mastermind is due out on October 4.

Gallery: Here's every actor who has played the Joker (Business Insider)


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