Joker writer/director Todd Phillips says his version of the Clown Prince of Crime, played by Joaquin Phoenix, has an entirely new origin story not derived from comic books.
“We didn’t follow anything from the comic books, which people are gonna be mad about,” Phillips told Empire. “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.”
Trailers for Joker paint a picture of Arthur Fleck, Phoenix's character, as a man pushed to insanity by an unkind society. And according to Phillips, Phoenix was always the top choice for the role.
“I think he’s the greatest actor,” Phillips confessed. “We had a photo of him above our computer while we were writing. We constantly thought, ‘God, imagine if Joaquin actually does this.’”
Joker opens in theaters October 4.