Fans' hope in movie portrayals of the Joker were beginning to dwindle as Heath Ledger's Academy Award-winning role in The Dark Knight trilogy was followed by Jared Leto's divisive Suicide Squad character. Things are starting to look up, however, as we've just gotten our first look at Joaquin Phoenix as the classic DC villain.
Phoenix will star in his very own standalone Joker film, directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover series, War Dogs). The director took to Instagram on September 16 to share the first official photo, with the caption "Arthur," confirming early reports the character's real name would be Arthur Fleck.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the as-yet-untitled film will follow Arthur's journey from a struggling stand-up comedian to the infamous villain. It is described as an “exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.”
We can clearly expect to see a lot of the Joker's origin story, something footage obtained by TMZ shows more of below. The site shared videos of Phoenix on set, walking around the street in character, then speaking to and seemingly being threatened by a clown. This is seriously creepy even without any context!
The standalone film is set to hit theaters October 4, 2019.