After the relative failure of the last big-screen outing of the Joker, all eyes have been on Todd Phillips' adaptation. The director just shared the first look at Joaquin Phoenix's Joker on his Instagram.
The photo matches the grounded and gritty character study of the Joker you might expect from a Martin Scorsese-produced superhero flick. The shot of Phoenix shows The Joker without his trademark makeup in a drab jacket, staring dead-eyed under a mop of greasy hair. The messy curls are about the only connection you could make to Heath Ledger's character-defining turn in The Dark Knight, though Phoenix is distancing the origin story from other superhero movies.
“I wouldn’t quite classify this as like any genre,” Phoenix said in an interview with Collider. “I wouldn’t say it’s a superhero movie, or a studio movie or a… It feels unique, and I think more than 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.”
Joker has quite a few connections to Scorsese's urban madman film Taxi Driver. Beyond the focus of the film on a man slowly losing his sanity, the film also counts Travis Bickle himself among the cast.