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Don't Worry, Todd Philips Says 'Joker' Is Actually About A Dude *Like* The Joker...What?

By Jodi Smith | Industry | July 8, 2019 |

By Jodi Smith | Industry | July 8, 2019 |


Empire magazine has new images and an exclusive interview with writer and director Todd Philips about Joker, the DC movie starring Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck/Joker.

You know, Fleck? The guy that allegedly has a rare condition that causes him to laugh at inappropriate times? The guy that takes care of his mom (Frances Conroy) and appears to work at Arkham Asylum while doing clown gigs on the side? Or maybe he’s a stand-up comedian, just like the synopsis over at IMDB says.

I’ve said before that the best thing about characters like The Joker is the lack of a concrete backstory. The foggy recollections of a man turned so mad that he fixates on another man dressed as a bat hit harder than any solid evidence of The Joker’s actual past because it means that any one of us is one bad day away from breaking. DC had a whole comic about it and everything (The Killing Joke). It gives us a version of The Joker’s past from a man that just permanently disabled Barbara Gordon and has Commissioner Gordon locked up nude in a funhouse where miniature minions push the father ever closer to the edge of sanity.

The animated movie based on that storyline stumbled and lots of people don’t like The Killing Joke comic for very valid reasons, so it makes sense for Philips to stray from that particular lore for his standalone Joker feature. What I did not expect what for the writer/director to pull a Zack Snyder and completely ignore decades of The Joker comics.

We didn’t follow anything from the comic books, which people are gonna be mad about. We just wrote our own version of where a guy like Joker might come from. That’s what was interesting to me. We’re not even doing Joker, but the story of becoming Joker. It’s about this man. - via Empire

So it isn’t about The Joker it’s about A Joker? Or does he mean that we will see Fleck’s descent into madness and then end with him pronouncing himself The Joker? I’ve seen the trailers and Fleck clearly does things dressed as a clown with a dastardly mission on his mind so I’m not sure how to parse this quote from Philips. It doesn’t sway me toward watching Joker and I’m still stubbornly refusing to entertain the idea of seeing it during its theatrical run. Was that bit of information supposed to push away the DC fanbase or neg them into buying tickets?

I suppose we will see if the box office has the last laugh (booooooo) when Joker hits theaters October 4 of this year.

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Jodi Smith is a Senior Reporter, Film & Television at Pajiba. You can email her or follow her on Twitter.

Header Image Source: Warner Bros. Pictures