In a new Empire feature on Joker, Phillips—who also co-wrote the script with Scott Silver—affirmed that nothing from the comics-based source material was utilized in this latest take on the iconic Batman villain. Instead, fans should look forward to an origin story that has its roots in simply wanting to tell a story without being bound to years-held lore.
"We didn't follow anything from the comic-books, which people are gonna be mad about," he said. "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."
As early glimpses at the release have shown, Phillips' Joker will indeed be taking some tonal cues from hardened classics like Taxi Driver. Phoenix is joined in the promisingly strong cast by Robert De Niro (in a King of Comedy "homage"), Atlanta's Zazie Beetz, WTFer Marc Maron, and more.
Check the trailer below. Joker drops Oct. 4.