Joaquin Phoenix Says His Joker Isn't a 'Superhero Movie'

Joaquin Phoenix, who recently finalized his deal with Warner Bros., has offered details about the Joker origin film, reaffirming that the Todd Phillips-produced project won't be like the studio's other DC features.

"I wouldn’t quite classify this as like any genre," Phoenix told Collider. "I wouldn’t say it’s a superhero movie, or a studio movie or a … It feels unique, and I think more then anything, and probably the most important thing, is Todd seems very passionate about it and very giving, and so that’s exciting. I think, underneath the excitement of these films, and the size of them, there are these incredible characters that are dealing with real life struggles. And sometimes that is uncovered and exposed, and sometimes it isn’t, and so I always felt, like, there were characters in comics that were really interesting and deserve the opportunity to be kind of studied. And so I think that’s what Todd sees appealing about this idea."

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Phoenix also noted that he'd been thinking about making "a character study" focusing on a supervillain "three or four years ago." Phoenix eventually "completely forgot about it." However, after hearing about the the Joker solo film, he thought the project was "the kind of experience I wanted to have, with a movie based on a comic character."

This movie, which is an Elseworlds-style origin movie, is one of several films featuring the Clown Prince of Crime that Warner Bros. currently has in the works. The Jared Leto iteration of the character will appear in the Harley Quinn solo film, Birds of Prey, Suicide Squad 2, the Joker and Harley Quinn film and another solo project.

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Reports of Phillips’ Joker origin film first surfaced in August 2017, when it was described as “a gritty and grounded hard-boiled crime film” set in early-1980s Gotham City. Produced by Martin Scorsese, and written by Phillips and Scott Silver (8 Mile), the project is rumored to explore The Joker's backstory as a failed comedian.

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