joker comics inspirations

Joaquin Phoenix‘s aspiring comedian won’t be using any old material — this is an all-original Joker. Director Todd Phillips revealed that his upcoming feature film about the Clown Prince of Crime’s origin won’t be drawing any inspiration from the comics. The lack of Joker comics inspirations is intentional, Phillips said, because Joker is exclusively “about this man,” not the Batman rogue he will become.

In an interview with Empire, director and co-writer Todd Phillips revealed that Joker will be comprised of all fresh material. The film won’t be inspired by or draw from any comic book storylines, Phillips said:

“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.”

There may be a few similarities that diehard comic book fans could find — the premise of the Joker as a washed-up comedian comes from the famous comic book story The Killing Joke, for example — but this falls in line with Phillips and producer Martin Scorsese’s vision of Joker as more of a “a character study of a mentally ill person that becomes The Joker” than an origin story of Batman’s greatest foe.

Indeed, the synopsis for Joker seems to indicate as much, describing the film centering “around the iconic arch-nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. The exploration of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.” Add onto that the fact that the film takes place in the ’80s and seems far removed from the DC Extended Universe at large, and you’ve got a film that seems as un-comic-like as possible.

In addition to Phoenix, Joker also stars Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances ConroyBrett CullenGlenn FleshlerDouglas HodgeJosh PaisMarc Maron, and Shea Whigham.

Joker gets the last laugh when the film opens on October 4, 2019.

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