Nothing else could beat Joker to win the “Trailer of the Week” really. This movie looks absolutely incredible and nothing like what we have seen from previous DC Superhero/villain origin stories.
The Joker is played by the brilliant Joaquin Phoenix, who had previously declined to act in the Marvel Cinematic Universe because he would have been required to play the roles he was offered in multiple films, whereas this role; a gritty character study of a man’s downfall, is a standalone story, so Phoenix is not expected to appear in any sequels.
The film is set in Gotham, 1981 and is strongly inspired by Executive Producer, Martin Scorsese’s films Taxi Driver, The King of Comedy and Raging Bull, as well as taking references from the Batman comic books and previous movies.
Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck, an aspiring stand-up comedian who lives with his mother, played by Frances Conroy. In the Batman story “The Killing Joke,” The Joker is also portrayed as a struggling stand-up comedian. In the first scene of the trailer, we see him meeting with a social worker named Debra Kane. Kane was also featured in the comic “Batman: The Ultimate Evil.” Bruce Wayne uses her as an informant to investigate a paedophile ring.
Fleck’s notepad of jokes appears to reflect his inner self, with references to mental illness, insomnia, and poverty–Phoenix reportedly lost a lot of weight for the role to appear malnourished. He cares for his mother and is struggling to make ends meet working as a clown. In a scene reminiscent of how the Joker famously kills the parents of Bruce Wayne, Fleck, dressed as a clown, is attacked in an alleyway. And on a subway train. At some point, he snaps and becomes his alter-ego.
Robert De Niro stars as Murray Franklin, a talk-show host who plays a part in Fleck’s downfall. The casting of De Niro is no coincidence as he starred in The King of Comedy as Rupert Pupkin, a stand-up comic who lives in his mother’s basement and spends his days stalking a successful talk show host named Jerry Langford. His character in Joker pays homage to Pupkin.
Zazie Beetz is cast as Sophie Dumond, Fleck’s love interest, and a cynical single mother.
Brett Cullen plays Thomas Wayne, a billionaire philanthropist running for mayor of Gotham. Unlike the source material, it is said that he plays a role in how Fleck became the Joker and is a less sympathetic character than in traditional incarnations. Alec Baldwin was initially cast in the role but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Very few Batman stories have avoided telling the story of how Bruce Wayne’s parents died, so it will be very interesting to see how this version of the story plays out. Will we find some sympathy for the devil?
Without a doubt, this version of the Joker’s story looks more to be a psychological thriller than a supervillain comic book movie, and that may just make it one of the best films of 2019. Todd Phillips directs, with Bradley Cooper and Emma Tillinger Koskoff producing.
Hildur Ingveldardóttir Guðnadóttir, an Icelandic cellist, known for her work with the bands Pan Sonic, Throbbing Gristle and Mum, will score the film, which is to be released on 4th October. I for one, cannot wait.