Joker (2019 film)

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Directed by Todd Phillips
Produced by
Written by
Based on
Music by Hildur Guðnadóttir
Cinematography Lawrence Sher
Edited by Jeff Groth
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • October 4, 2019 (2019-10-04) (United States)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $55 million

Joker is an upcoming American crime film based on the DC Comics character of the same name, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is intended to be the first film in a series of DC-based films separate from the shared DC Extended Universe (DCEU). The film is directed by Todd Phillips from a screenplay he wrote with Scott Silver, and stars Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker, along with Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Josh Pais, and Shea Whigham. In Joker, a failed stand-up comedian is driven insane and becomes a psychopathic criminal.

Phoenix had been interested in a low budget character study-type film about a comic book villain since 2014. After deciding to deemphasize the shared nature of the DCEU, Warner Bros. and DC Films announced plans for a Joker-centered film in August 2017, with Phillips directing and producing, as well as co-writing with Silver. Martin Scorsese was also attached to produce, although he dropped out in July 2018 and was replaced by Emma Tillinger Koskoff. Principal photography began on September 10, 2018 in New York City, and is scheduled to eventually move to Jersey City and Newark.

Joker is scheduled to be released on October 4, 2019.


During the 1980s, a failed stand-up comedian turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City.[1]


  • Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck / Joker:
    A failed stand-up comedian disregarded by society who is driven insane and becomes a psychopathic criminal mastermind.[1][2] Phoenix is the seventh actor to portray the Joker in a theatrical film;[3] prior to his casting, Leonardo DiCaprio had been considered.[4] Phoenix had been interested in a low-budget "character study" of a comic book character and his agent recommended that he set up a meeting with Warner Bros. to discuss, but he ultimately declined. Phoenix later became interested when the project was announced, stating, "It feels unique, it is its own world in some ways, and maybe ... It might as well be the thing that scares you the most".[5] Phoenix lost a considerable amount of weight in preparation.[6]
  • Robert De Niro as a talk show host.[7]
  • Zazie Beetz as Sophie Dumond:
    A cynical single mother and Arthur's love interest.[8][9] Beetz, who is a "huge fan" of Phoenix, has said it is "an honor" to work with him.[10]
  • Frances Conroy as Penny Fleck: Arthur's mother.[11]
  • Brett Cullen as Thomas Wayne:
    A billionaire philanthropist running for mayor of Gotham.[12] He is traditionally depicted as the father of Bruce Wayne, who years later becomes the Joker's archenemy Batman.[13] Unlike the source material, he plays a role in the Joker's origins and is less sympathetic than traditional incarnations.[14] Alec Baldwin was initially cast in the role, but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.[15][16]
  • Glenn Fleshler as a comedian[17]
  • Marc Maron as an agent[18]
  • Bryan Callen as an aging stripper[19]

Additionally, Bill Camp, Josh Pais, Shea Whigham and Douglas Hodge have been cast in undisclosed roles.[2]



In 2014, Joaquin Phoenix was interested in acting in a low-budget "character study"-type film about a comic book villain like the Joker.[5] Phoenix had previously declined to act in the Marvel Cinematic Universe because he would have been required to play the roles he was offered, like Doctor Strange, in multiple films.[20] He did not believe his idea for a film should cover the Joker, however, as he believed that character had been depicted in a similar way before. Phoenix's agent suggested a meeting with Warner Bros. but Phoenix declined.[5]

After the successful release of Wonder Woman (2017), DC Films decided to deemphasize the shared nature of its DC Comics-based film franchise, the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson stated "Our intention, certainly, moving forward is using the continuity to help make sure nothing is diverging in a way that doesn't make sense, but there's no insistence upon an overall story line or interconnectivity in that universe... Moving forward, you'll see the DC movie universe being a universe, but one that comes from the heart of the filmmaker who's creating them."[21] In August 2017, Warner Bros. and DC Films revealed plans for a Joker film separate from the DCEU, with Todd Phillips directing and co-writing with Scott Silver, and Martin Scorsese co-producing with Phillips.[22] The script draws inspiration from Scorsese's films Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and The King of Comedy,[22] as well as Alan Moore's graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke.[1]

By September 2017, Warner Bros. was considering casting Leonardo DiCaprio as the Joker,[4] but by February 2018, Phoenix was Phillips' top choice for the role.[23] Phoenix said when he learned of the film, he became excited because it was the kind of film he was looking to make, describing it as unique and stating it did not feel like a typical "studio movie".[5] Following the disappointing critical and financial performance of Justice League (2017), Walter Hamada replaced Jon Berg as the head of DC-based film production at Warner Bros.[24] Hamada sorted through the various DC films in development, canceling some while advancing work on others. The Joker film was expected to begin filming in late 2018 with a budget of $55 million, "a fraction" of the usual budget for a comic book-based film.[25] The deal with Phoenix was finalized in July 2018.[26]


On July 10, 2018, immediately after Phoenix was cast,[26] Warner Bros. officially green-lit the film[27] and titled it Joker.[28] Warner Bros. described the film as "an exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale".[1] At this point, Scorsese left the project because of other obligations[29] and Emma Tillinger Koskoff replaced him,[30] although he was later revealed to be an executive producer.[31] It was also confirmed that the film would have no effect on Jared Leto's portrayal of the Joker in the DCEU[32] and it was expected to be the first in a new series of DC films unrelated to that franchise.[25] Warner Bros. was also "possibly" aiming for an R-rating from the Motion Picture Association of America.[33]

The same month, Robert De Niro and Zazie Beetz were being eyed for supporting roles.[34][8] Beetz was cast,[9] and De Niro entered negotiations a month later.[7][35] Frances McDormand declined an offer to portray the mother of the Joker, and Frances Conroy was in talks for the role.[36][11] At the end of July, Marc Maron also joined the cast, and Bryan Callen was cast as a comedian.[18][17] Alec Baldwin was cast as Thomas Wayne on August 27, but dropped out two days later due to scheduling conflicts.[15] Production began on September 2, 2018.[37]


Principal photography commenced on September 10, 2018 in New York City,[38][39] under the working title Romeo.[40] Shortly after filming began, De Niro, Brett Cullen, Shea Whigham, Glenn Fleshler, Bill Camp, Josh Pais, and Douglas Hodge were announced to have joined the film, with Cullen replacing Baldwin.[41][2] Bradley Cooper also joined the film as a producer.[42] The director of photography is Lawrence Sher, with whom Phillips had previously collaborated with for his Hangover films.[2] On September 22, a scene depicting a violent protest took place in Brooklyn, although the station was modified to look like Bedford Park Blvd.[43]

In late September 2018, filming of robbery scenes took place at the First Central Savings Bank in Astoria, Queens.[44] Production moved to New Jersey afterward. Filming in Jersey City started on September 30 and shut down Newark Avenue, while filming in November (starting on November 9) will shut down Kennedy Boulevard. Filming in Newark began on October 13 and last until October 16.[40]


In August 2018, Hildur Guðnadóttir was hired to compose the film's score.[45]


Joker is scheduled to be released by Warner Bros. Pictures on October 4, 2019.[46]


On September 16, 2018, Phillips posted the first picture of Phoenix in-character on his Instagram feed.[47] On September 21, he released test footage of Phoenix wearing clown makeup, with "Laughing" by The Guess Who accompanying the footage.[48]


  1. ^ a b c d Ashurst, Sam; Chapman, Matt (August 30, 2018). "Joaquin Phoenix's Joker film release date, plot, cast, trailer and everything you need to know". Digital Spy. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "Production is Underway on Warner Bros. Pictures' "Joker"". Business Wire. September 17, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  3. ^ "The Joker: Joaquin Phoenix and the many faces of Gotham's most wanted". BBC. September 17, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Masters, Kim; Kit, Borys (September 1, 2017). "The Joker Movie: Warner Bros. Wants Class, Cachet and Maybe Leonardo DiCaprio". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d Weintraub, Steve (July 12, 2018). "Exclusive: Joaquin Phoenix on His "Unique" Joker Movie and Why It Scares Him". Collider. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  6. ^ Stone, Sam (September 1, 2018). "Joaquin Phoenix Sheds Weight Ahead of Joker Movie Role". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Kit, Borys (July 23, 2018). "Robert De Niro in Talks to Join Joaquin Phoenix in Joker Movie (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Hood, Cooper (August 10, 2018). "Zazie Beetz's Role in Joker Revealed". Screen Rant. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Kit, Borys (July 19, 2018). "'Joker' Movie: 'Deadpool 2' Actress Zazie Beetz in Talks to Join Joaquin Phoenix (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  10. ^ Anderson, Jenna (September 18, 2018). "Zazie Beetz is Excited to Be Working With Joaquin Phoenix on 'Joker' Movie". Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Gonzalez, Umberto; Verhoeven, Beatrice (July 24, 2018). "'Joker': Frances Conroy in Talks to Play Mom to Joaquin Phoenix's Joker in 'Batman' Spinoff (Exclusive)". TheWrap. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  12. ^ Anderson, Jenna (September 23, 2018). "'Joker' Set Photo Reveals Thomas Wayne's Political Ambitions". Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  13. ^ E. Hayner, Chris (September 20, 2018). "The Joker Movie Casts A New Thomas Wayne After Alec Baldwin Quit". GameSpot. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  14. ^ Davis, Brandon (September 17, 2018). "Brett Cullen Cast as Thomas Wayne in 'The Joker'". Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  15. ^ a b Stedman, Alex (August 29, 2018). "Alec Baldwin Drops Out of 'Joker' Movie". Variety. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  16. ^ Kit, Borys (August 27, 2018). "'Joker' Movie: Alec Baldwin to Play Bruce Wayne's Father". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  17. ^ a b Anderson, Jenna (July 31, 2018). "Bryan Callen Cast in 'Joker' Origin Movie". ComicBook. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  18. ^ a b Kroll, Justin (July 31, 2018). "Joaquin Phoenix's Joker Movie Eyes 'Glow' Star Marc Maron (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  19. ^ Francisco, Eric (September 20, 2018). "Joaquin Phoenix's 'Joker' Movie Set Photos Show an Aging Stripper Character". Inverse. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  20. ^ Cotter, Padraig (March 7, 2018). "Joaquin Phoenix Doesn't Regret Passing on MCU Movie Roles". Screen Rant. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  21. ^ Riesman, Abraham (September 29, 2017). "DC Rethinks Its Universe". Vulture. Archived from the original on September 30, 2017. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  22. ^ a b Jr, Mike Fleming (August 22, 2017). "The Joker Origin Story On Deck: Todd Phillips, Scott Silver, Martin Scorsese Aboard WB/DC Film". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  23. ^ Kroll, Justin (February 8, 2018). "Joaquin Phoenix in Talks to Play the Joker in Todd Phillips' Standalone Movie (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  24. ^ Lang, Brent (2018-01-04). "Warner Bros. Taps Walter Hamada to Oversee DC Films Production (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2018-09-29.
  25. ^ a b Kit, Borys (June 13, 2018). "Warner Bros. Shifts DC Strategy Amid Executive Change-Up". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  26. ^ a b Kroll, Justin (July 10, 2018). "Joaquin Phoenix's 'Joker' Movie Gets the Greenlight, Will Shoot in the Fall". Variety. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  27. ^ Kit, Borys (July 10, 2018). "Joaquin Phoenix's Joker Origin Movie a Go at Warner Bros". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  28. ^ Hood, Cooper (July 18, 2018). "Joker Origin Movie Title & Release Date Officially Revealed". Screen Rant. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  29. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (July 10, 2018). "Todd Phillips' 'Joker' Movie Heading Into Production This Fall With Joaquin Phoenix". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  30. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (July 10, 2018). "Todd Phillips' 'Joker' Movie Heading Into Production This Fall With Joaquin Phoenix". Deadline. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  31. ^ Mancuso, Vinnie (September 23, 2018). "Joaquin Phoenix Terrorizes a Subway Platform in 'Joker' Set Video". Collider. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  32. ^ Yang, Rachel (September 21, 2018). "See Joaquin Phoenix in Joker Makeup". Variety. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  33. ^ Anderson, Jenna (August 8, 2018). "'Joker' Origin Movie Rumored to Be Targeting R-Rating". Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  34. ^ Erao, Matthew (June 18, 2018). "Joker Origin Film Reportedly Wants Robert De Niro For Supporting Role". ScreenRant. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  35. ^ "Robert De Niro and Frances Conroy join DC's Joker origin film". flickeringmyth. July 24, 2018. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  36. ^ Mueller, Matthew (July 13, 2018). "Frances McDormand Turns Down Role in Joker Origin Movie". Comic Book. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  37. ^ Drum, Nicole (September 2, 2018). "'Joker' Director Todd Phillips Teases Production With New Photo". Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  38. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (August 27, 2018). "Alec Baldwin Joins Todd Phillips' 'Joker'". Deadline. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  39. ^ Evry, Max (September 16, 2018). "Unexpected First Look at Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker". Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  40. ^ a b MacDonald, Terrence T. (September 21, 2018). "'Joker,' Joaquin Phoenix film about Batman nemesis, to film in N.J. locations". Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  41. ^ Chitwood, Adam (September 17, 2018). "Brett Cullen Replaces Alec Baldwin as Thomas Wayne in 'Joker'". Collider. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  42. ^ "Full 'Joker' Cast List Reveals Shea Whigham, Glenn Fleshler, and More". Collider. September 17, 2018. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  43. ^ "Joaquin Phoenix All Smiles as The Joker in Action". TMZ. September 22, 2018. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  44. ^ Marc, Christopher (September 22, 2018). "EXCLUSIVE: 'Joker' Possibly Shooting A Bank Robbery Scene Tomorrow - GWW". Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  45. ^ "Hildur Gudnadottir to Score Todd Phillips' 'Joker' Origin Movie". Film Music Reporter. August 23, 2018. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  46. ^ McClintock, Pamela; Kit, Borys (June 18, 2018). "'Joker' Origin Movie Lands Fall 2019 Release Date". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  47. ^ Shanley, Patrick (September 16, 2018). "Joaquin Phoenix's Joker Unveiled in First-Look Photo". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  48. ^ Patches, Matt (September 21, 2018). "Joaquin Phoenix's Joker makeup revealed in behind-the-scenes footage". Polygon. Retrieved September 21, 2018.

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