Joaquin Phoenix's Joker origin story is officially on and fans are irked
The actor, who was nominated for an Oscar for his unsteady Emperor Commodus in 2000's "Gladiator," will star in the still-untitled Joker film, called an "original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen," by a Warner Bros. release Tuesday.
"Hangover" director Todd Phillips co-wrote and will direct the film centering around the iconic arch nemesis.
"Phillips’ exploration of a man disregarded by society is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale," stated the release.
The film begins production later this year. Warner Bros. did not give a release date.
News of the film was originally reported at Comic-Con in August and the reactions were not impressive.
The Hollywood Reporter led the backlash at the time with a piece in its Heat Vision geek blog titled "The Depressing Inevitability of a Joker Movie." The piece argued that the ace Bat-baddie has been overexposed in numerous film and TV projects.
"Isn't it time to let the Batman villain rest for awhile?" the article posited, leading to an onslaught of agreement on Twitter.
The iconic Batman supervillain role earned Heath Ledger a posthumous Oscar for 2008's "The Dark Knight." Jared Leto played The Joker onscreen in 2016's "Suicide Squad" and will star in his own, still-untitled standalone film. Zach Galifianakis voiced The Joker in 2017's "The Lego Batman Movie."
The new Joker project's budget is in the $55 million range, says The Hollywood Reporter, significantly lower than the typical tentpole superhero movie.
"The stand-alone is meant to be darker and more experimental in tone and content (at least as experimental as a studio can be with established brands such as DC)," said THR, describing the film as "a crime drama."