Just a day after Warner Bros. Pictures released the first poster for Joker, the studio has debuted the film’s first trailer, which offers a preview of Joaquin Phoenix as DC Comics’ notorious Clown Prince of Crime.
Directed by The Hangover franchise filmmaker Todd Phillips from a script he co-wrote with The Fighter screenwriter Scott Silver, Joker casts Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, a man “disregarded by society” who eventually becomes one of Gotham’s greatest villains. The film’s official synopsis describes it as “a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.”
The film’s first trailer offers a broad look at the circumstances that lead Arthur down the path to becoming Joker, hinting at the conflicts that eventually break him, and concludes with a shot of him in what appears to be the version of the character’s costume and clown makeup he’ll introduce in the movie.
Along with Phoenix in the title role, the film’s cast also includes Deadpool 2 actress Zazie Beetz, as well as Bill Camp (Red Sparrow), Frances Conroy (American Horror Story), Brett Cullen (Narcos), Glenn Fleshler (Billions), Douglas Hodge (Penny Dreadful), Josh Pais (Going in Style), and Shea Whigham (First Man). Comedian and actor Marc Maron (GLOW) also plays a supporting role in the film.
Given that Jared Leto introduced his own version of Joker in 2016’s Suicide Squad that is firmly set within the studio’s DC Extended Universe, Joker isn’t expected to connect with the rest of the DCEU, and instead exist as a stand-alone feature.
Created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson, Joker made his comics debut in April 1940’s Batman #1, and went on to become one of the most iconic villains in the entire DC Comics universe. Over the years, the character has been portrayed on the screen on several occasions, with Cesar Romero playing the character in the 1960s TV series, Jack Nicholson playing the role in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman feature, and Heath Ledger winning a posthumous Academy Award for portraying Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight. Star Wars franchise actor Mark Hamill has also famously voiced the character in multiple iterations of Batman animated series over the years.
Joker is scheduled to hit theaters on October 4.
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