Is Joaquin Phoenix's Joker Influenced by the Comics - Director Todd Philips Answers
We've seen the trailer, we see Joaquin Phoenix in action, but we have no real clue of what to expect. Joker is set to officially release in less than two weeks and we are already mentally hyper-ventilating. There is a lot of buzz on whether this Joker is based on the comics, or whether he is from any of the universes, or is he a prequel to something Warner is working on, or why does Joker even have an origin?? Well Director Todd Philips addresses the buzz by setting the record straight.
Todd says that Joker is indeed influenced by the supervillain character from the comics that have been around for 80 years. However, Joaquin Phoenix's Joker wasn't picked from any particular comic or story arc or universe, but instead, it is a combination of the Jokers that have existed throughout the 80-year production of the Batman comics. There was a misunderstanding prior to this about this Joker being completely unrelated to DC's Joker.
To quote, Todd says, "It’s funny because a lot of you guys have probably reprinted something I said in Empire where I was misquoted and I’m not going to complain, I like the writer, he wrote a great piece where I said we didn’t take anything from the comic book world, it’s actually not what I said. What I said was we didn’t take anything from one particular comic. We kind of picked and chose what we liked from the kind of 80 year-year canon of Joker. We kind of pulled a few things that we liked, but I don’t know, to us… yes, could it have been called Arthur and it just be about clown, maybe. I just thought that there’s a new way to tell a comic book movie, and maybe I’m wrong, but, and let’s do it as a character statement. Part of what, I guess a big part of what it should be about, more than making a movie called Arthur, was to kind of deconstruct the comic book movie a little bit."
What Empire had quoted:
“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.”
Todd also says that he wanted to tell a story about a man named Arthur who doubles as a deconstruction of the comic book character, Joker. We assume that means its not meant as an intrusion to the non-origin of Joker, but rather as a standalone story about a man who became Joker. Hope that makes sense? Let's take a look at the trailer one more time: