In the past week a few first looks have made their way online of Todd Phillips upcoming Joker origin film.
The Hangover director has begun shooting the film that according to a press release the screenplay is “based on characters from DC.” It’s a throw away comment of sorts but it is the only line in the press release that actually mentions DC Comics at all.
The first picture that came to us was a first look of Joaquin Phoenix as the Joke….er… Arthur Fleck.? That’s right, WB has gone and done something that hardcore fans might find a little unnerving, but this isn’t the first time this has been done either. Given The Joker a first and last name.
In the photos that were released that followed the first look of Arthur Fleck we see Joaquin’s character interact with a street performer of sorts dressed as a clown. The pictures proceeds to show Phoenix remove the clown’s classic red nose and throw it into the street and then we see Phoenix laughing maniacally. The images give a great look into what direction they’re going with the Joker and Joaquin Phoenix looks crazy, broken and like a man down on his luck.
Still those pictures aren’t the Joker. At least not the Joker we’re all used to seeing.
Well today that somewhat changed.
Todd Phillips and WB decided to release some test footage of Joaquin Phoenix in clown make up. And I have to say he does look creepy. The way the put together the test footage is almost like teaser trailer. The music that plays in the back ground as we see Arthur Fleck standing in his somewhat awkward looking stature and we see flashes of what looks to be Arthur Fleck transitioning into the Clown prince of crime. At the end we see Arthur Fleck in clown make up. Red nose. White face. Blue diamonds around the eyes. And of course and exaggerated smile. All regular old clown makeup nothing spectacular. But still that last shot is creepy.
Now whether or not this is the exact makeup he will be wearing once Arthur Fleck crosses into madness and becomes the Dark Knight’s arch-nemesis remains to be seen. But, it may in fact be the makeup that is used. And I say that only because after watching the test footage several times the clothing that he is wearing while in makeup is a purple suit and orange vest and I believe there is a green tint to his hair.
So whether or not it does stay like this throughout the entire film or if that makeup even makes it into the film, I do believe the production did intend on this makeup being the actual makeup. I also believe that’s why WB released the test footage to see how the fans and the general audience would react and change it if they deem it necessary.
With Warner Bros track record on these DC properties, I for one believe that this is a smart move and hope that maybe this time around they’re listening to fans and are taking to count what people want to see. If this is in fact an origin film for the DC Comics character than by the end of the film he should become the Joker we all know and love.
Now, if we look back at the appearances of the Joker in films he was also given a name and an origin in Tim Burton’s Batman, the mobster Jack Napier. And that turned out rather well and Jack Nicholson knocked his interpretation of The Joker out of the park.
“Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?” That quote has always stuck with me from that film not to mention when Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne goes all mental in Vicki Vale’s apartment. “You wanna get nuts!! Come on, let’s get nuts.” Tim Burton’s Batman was great and even the way they did the origins of the Joker and Batman and tying them in together was really bold and it worked. Then.
The thing is now the Joker is extremely popular. People know who he is. what he looks like and one thing that has always made the Joker, THE JOKER, is no one truly knows where he came from or who he was.
Even in the comics this is how he has been portrayed. In one comic iteration of the Joker, Batman: The Killing Joke, he was a failing comedian with a pregnant wife that was pushed over the edge. After a robbery gone bad and falling into a pool of chemicals, his transformation into the Joker was complete. But still even in that comic book the Joker himself says, “If I’m going to have a past I prefer it to be multiple choice.”
According to a recently released press release Warner Bros. has officially announced that principal photography has begun on a Joker film that the studio describes as revolving around “the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. Todd Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck (Joquin Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.”
Along with the somewhat brief synopsis of the film a full list of the cast has also been revealed and that includes Robert DeNiro (Taxi Driver), Zazie Beetz (Deadpool 2), Bill Camp (Red Sparrow), Frances Conroy (Castle Rock), Brett Cullen (Narcos), Glenn Fleshler (Billions), Douglas Hodge (Penny Dreadful), Marc Maron (GLOW), Josh Pais (Motherless Brooklyn), and Shea Whigham (Kong: Skull Island).
The Joker origin film will be produced by Phillips and Bradley Cooper under their Joint Effort banner, and longtime Martin Scorsese producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff. It will be executive produced by Richard Baratta, Joseph Garner and Bruce Berman. Phillips is also joined by director of photography Lawrence Sher (The Hangover), production designer Mark Friedberg (The Amazing Spider-Man 2), editor Jeff Groth (The Hangover), and Oscar-winning costume designer Mark Bridges (The Artist).
Article written by Daniel Bowers