Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘Joker’ movie: release date, plot and everything we know so far

Learn how the infamous villain came to be

This October, the story of how The Joker came to be will come to our screens. The new ‘Joker’ is set to follow Jack Nicholson’s original portrayal more than 30 years ago in Tim Burton’s Batman, Heath Ledger’s legendary performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight and Jared Leto’s most recent portrayal in Suicide Squad.

Who will play The Joker in the new film?

The task of living up to the iconic previous portrayals of the character will fall to Academy Award winner Joaquin Phoenix. Revealed in July of last year, Warner Bros said that the film would be darker than most DC films, and was set to be an “exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.”

It was originally revealed that Jared Leto would have his own Joker movie, but it was revealed earlier this year that this might not happen after all.


“The Mad Love-type Joker and Harley Quinn film has also fallen by the wayside, as has the solo Joker project for Jared Leto’s version of the character from Suicide Squad,Forbes reported.

Joaquin Phoenix joker full makeup
Joaquin Phoenix

When is the new ‘Joker’ film being released?

Joker will be out on October 4 in the UK.

Who else will be in the cast of ‘Joker’?

The first two cast members announced to join Phoenix in the new film were Robert De Niro and Frances Conroy.

A later update revealed that The Night Manager‘s Douglas Hodge will play Alfred while Dante Pereira-Olson will play Bruce Wayne as a child. Pereira-Olson has worked with Phoenix before, starring alongside him in 2017’s You Were Never Really Here.

Glow’s Marc Maron is also set to join the new film. According to Variety, he’ll be playing an agent who books Phoenix’s character on Robert De Niro’s talk show. It’s this booking that eventually causes him to go mad and become the Joker.


Alec Baldwin was also set to appear in the movie, but quit back in August of last year after he found out his character was said to be cast in the mould of Donald Trump.

Baldwin told USA Today he is “not doing that movie anymore.” He also tweeted to confirm he would not be appearing in the film. “Let me state, for the record, that I have NOT been hired to play a role in Todd Phillips’ JOKER as some Donald Trump manque,” he wrote. “That is not happening. Not. Happening.”

Is there a trailer for ‘Joker’?

Yes! The trailer for the film is suitably creepy, justifying the film’s R rating (it’s the first Batman film to ever come with the rating).

The clip shows Phoenix as a struggling street performer taking care of his elderly mother, before being driven to madness and crime by the cruelty of others. As he becomes the Joker, he concludes: “I used to think that my life was a tragedy. Now I realise that it’s a comedy.”

What’s going to happen in ‘Joker’?

Joaquin Phoenix recently surprisingly revealed that he had the idea for the film a number of years ago.

“Three or four years ago, I called my agent and said ‘Why don’t they want to take one of these characters and just make a lower budget film about it, a movie but a character study, and why not take one of the villains?’ And I thought, ‘You can’t do the Joker, because, you know, it’s just you can’t do that character, it’s just been done,’” he told Collider.

“So I was trying to think of other characters, and he said ‘I’ll set up a general meeting with Warner Bros.’ And I said ‘I’m not gonna go, I can’t go to a general meeting.’ So I completely forgot about it, and so then I heard about this idea, I was like, ‘Oh that’s so exciting, that’s the kind of experience I wanted to have, with a movie based on a comic character.’ I felt like you could get something on screen.”
And fans expecting a traditional storyline are set to be disappointed, with director Todd Phillips saying viewers will be “mad” because the film strays completely from the original comic book’s plot.
“We didn’t follow anything from the comic-books, which people are gonna be mad about,” the writer-director told Empire in July.
“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.”

Bruce Wayne
Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker

Robert DeNiro has also teased a connection between his character in Joker and the role he plays in The King Of Comedy, after fans joined some dots between the two roles.

“There’s a connection, obviously, with the whole thing,” he told IndieWire. “But it’s not as a direct connection as the character I’m playing being Rupert many years later as a host.”

He added: “By making this type of film, it is connected in a way, as you’ll see.”

Marc Maron also told NME a little of what to expect from the film in a recent interview.

“I think it’s a very interesting approach to this world,” he told us. “I’ve been somewhat judgemental when it comes to comic book movies and I’ve got a little pushback in the press for being a hypocrite. Whatever I think, if you get a call and someone says, ‘Hey do you wanna do a scene with Robert De Niro and Joaquin Phoenix?’ your principals fall to the wayside.

“If it’s relative to what I think of Marvel movies then it’s like, ‘Yeah, of course I’m gonna do that’. Oddly, it’s not that kind of movie. The approach that Todd Phillips has taken is more of an origin story and a character study of a mentally ill person that becomes The Joker.”

He added: “It’s more of an intimate and gritty movie with a very specific scope. It’s going to be really interesting to see how it comes out.”

Is there any footage from the filming of ‘Joker’?

Plenty! A host of on-set footage from the shooting of the film has been revealed across the filming process. From videos shared by director Todd Phillips to Joaquin Phoenix running through the streets of New York while filming last November, there’s plenty to whet the appetite as to what’s coming in Joker.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Broadimage/REX/Shutterstock (9988687g)
Joaquin Phoenix
‘Joker’ on set filming, New York, USA – 20 Nov 2018
Joaquin Phoenix on the film set of The Joker in New York

The most revealing on-set photos arrived last September, seeing The Joker in a subway station in Uptown Manhattan in full costume. It’s quite a sight.

Of course, before The Joker becomes, well, The Joker, he’s merely a man. It’s been widely speculated that the man’s name is Arthur Fleck, and this rumour was fuelled in the first photo revealed of Joaquin Phoenix in the film, which Todd Phillips shared to Instagram with the caption “Arthur”.

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