Joker Director Todd Phillips Says Perceptions Of The Movie Are Mostly Wrong

Joker in the first poster for the 2019 movie.

Joker has been teasing out a lot of images over the past several months, leading anticipation to be on the high side. Not only is it a comic book movie from a beloved property, but it also stars Joaquin Phoenix, who seems to be going all out to play the iconic character. And The Hangover Todd Phillips is at the helm. While we know all of this, The Joker largely still remains a secret and, according to what Phillips said at CinemaCon 2019, most of what we know about the movie may not be correct.

I don’t have a lot to say about the filming because it’s still taking shape, but also I want it to be a surprise. That said, there’s been a lot of chatter about what this film is and isn’t and most of it hasn’t been very accurate. But I suppose that’s to be expected when you set out to make an origin story about a beloved character that basically has no definitive origin.

From what we've heard about Joker so far, the movie will be framed differently than other DC properties. Joaquin Phoenix will be playing Arthur Fleck and we’ve seen the character in full makeup already ahead of the first trailer. Warner Bros. has previously called the movie “a cautionary tale” and “a gritty character study" about a man who has been “disregarded by society.”

Other than that, there have been some wild rumors out there from plot to casting, most of which Todd Phillips said at CinemaCon are not true.

He’s loathe to give away any real details about the movie. (In fact, I saw some early footage of the movie and I’m still not totally sure where it’s headed or what ground it will exactly cover.) However, Todd Phillips did reveal the marketing department at Warners made him give them something. So, he gave Warner Bros. the genre, noting:

When the marketing department at Warners asked me the other day to describe the movie, I said, ‘I can’t.’ They said, ‘Well, at least tell us the genre.’ And I thought about it for a minute and I said, ‘It’s a tragedy.’ And I think if the brilliant Joaquin Phoenix was here with me he would agree.

There have been a lot of Batman properties featuring the Joker over the years. He’s been played by Mark Hamill, Jack Nicholson, Jared Leto, Micheal Emerson, Zach Galifianakis and I could go on and on if I delved really deeply into Batman lore here. But a comics movie focusing on the world of the bad guys is still pretty novel.

Sure, we got Suicide Squad, but that’s not exactly the same ballpark, given the villains save the day. I’m not sure Thanos winning counts exactly either, since Infinity War is still more of a movie about the heroes. But even if you count stuff like this in with Joker, there are still a slew of movies released for heroes and villain narratives are rare birds.

So, there’s excitement around Todd Phillips’ Joker from that perspective and from the perspective that details are secret and apparently at least partially wrong. Footage is dropping shortly, so you’ll be able to catch the movie and decide if it’s exactly what you’re hoping for very soon.

Joker hits theaters on October 4, 2019. Take a look at its comics competition with our full movies schedule.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.