Joaquin Phoenix 'Joker' movie will ignore the comic books, says director

Tom Beasley
Contributor
Joaquin Phoenix will portray the Joker for Todd Phillips. (Credit: Warner Bros)

The upcoming comic book movie Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix as Batman’s arch-nemesis the ‘Clown Prince of Crime’, does not follow “anything” from the original stories, according to director Todd Phillips.

Speaking to Empire Magazine, the writer-director acknowledge that “people are gonna be mad” about his approach to the character in the R-rated movie.

Phillips, who is best known for directing the Hangover movies, has hinted that fans should expect a very different portrayal to previous incarnations played by the likes of Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson.

He 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.”

Phillips also told Empire that Phoenix was in their minds throughout the writing process, with a picture of the 44-year-old actor above his computer way before he was cast.

The upcoming 'Joker' movie with Joaquin Phoenix will be R-rated. (Credit: Warner Bros)

“I think he’s the greatest actor,” said Phillips. “We constantly thought: ‘God, imagine if Joaquin actually does this.’”

Phoenix’s version of The Joker is troubled 1980s comedian Arthur Fleck and early glimpses of the character have drawn comparisons to Robert De Niro’s performance in Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy.

Read more: Leto’s Joker reign is over

De Niro himself will appear as talk show host Murray Franklin.

Jared Leto played the Joker in 'Suicide Squad' in 2015. (Credit: Warner Bros)

Phoenix has recently played Jesus Christ in the religious drama Mary Magdalene and earned acclaim for his role in Western The Sisters Brothers alongside John C. Reilly.

His new take on the Joker character will be completely separate from the version played elsewhere in the DC Extended Universe by Jared Leto in 2016’s Suicide Squad, who may never appear on screen again.

Joker is set to arrive in UK cinemas on 4 October.