Robert DeNiro has confirmed there’s a slight connection between his characters in Joker and The King of Comedy, after fans noticed similarities between the two movies.
The brooding first trailer for Todd Phillips’ version of the iconic DC Comics villain arrived yesterday and saw the first look at Joaquin Phoenix’s deranged take on the character.
But fans were quick to notice the thematic similarities to Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy – which famously starred DeNiro as deranged loner Rupert Pupkin.
DeNiro also featured in the trailer too as TV host Murray Franklin – a job that DeNiro’s Pupkin famously wanted in the 1982 movie.
“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.”
The trailer also 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.”
The Joker origin movie – not to be confused with the Jared Leto film of the same name, which looks to have been put on hold – is the first in a series of DC-based movies that are independent of the shared DC Extended Universe (DCEU). It tells the story of the Joker (Phoenix) as a failed stand-up comedian who becomes a psychopathic criminal mastermind after going insane.
Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, and Marc Maron star in the film.
Maron, who portrays Ted Marco in the upcoming movie, told NME last month that despite being formerly critical of comic book movies, he’s confident about this particular reboot.