Photo Credit: Alison Cohen Rosa/Amazon Studios, DC Comics
The Joker origin movie got its first look on Sunday, thanks to director Todd Phillips sharing an image on Instagram of lead star Joaquin Phoenix as the character before his transformation. Phillips captioned the picture as “Arthur”, which suggests that will be the real name of the Joker in the film. The famous DC character is known for dressing in shades of purple and having green hair – Phoenix’s clothes in the picture have shades of green, for what it’s worth – though whether that will be applicable to this version remains to be seen.
Arthur will be a new alias for the character, who has mostly gone unnamed in most comics and video adaptations. One of the few exceptions was Tim Burton’s Batman, in which Jack Nicholson’s Joker was named Jack Napier. That name has since been used in a couple of comic book series. Though Phoenix’s Joker is set to offer a new take on the character, he will undoubtedly be compared to both Nicholson and the late Heath Ledger, who won a posthumous Oscar for his role in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.
Warner Bros. has previously described the film as "a gritty character study but also a broader cautionary tale of a man disregarded by society who becomes the ultimate supervillain". It is said to be partly based on Alan Moore’s 1988 graphic novel “The Killing Joke”, in which an unnamed engineer who fails as a stand-up comedian, turns to a life of crime in desperation, and transforms into the villain we know him during a heist gone wrong.
Filming began last week on September 10. In addition to Phoenix, the Joker movie also stars Robert De Niro, Frances Conroy, Deadpool 2’s Zazie Beetz, and GLOW star Marc Maron. The film has no connection to the existing DC film universe, which includes Justice League, Wonder Woman, and others.