Everything we know so far about the Todd Phillips-directed, Joaquin Phoenix-starring Joker origin movie points toward a very different take on the Batman nemesis. This isn't going to be Jack Nicholson's zany Joker, or Heath Ledger's crazed version, or whatever the fuck Jared Leto was trying to do in Suicide Squad. Phillips's upcoming film is set in 1980s New York, back when the Joker was a struggling stand-up comic, before he turned to a life of crime. Plus, Scorsese's also got a hand in the movie, so all signs point to some kind of gritty, supervillain version of King of Comedy.
On Sunday night, Phillips shared the first official photo of Phoenix in costume, along with the caption "Arthur," an apparent reference to his Joker's real name, and he looks absolutely nothing like any Joker we've known before.
He looks... normal?
That's it! No face paint, no green hair, no twisted smile from behind a painted maniacal clown grin, no terrible facial tattoos. Just... a shlubby dude named Arthur with a bad haircut.
Phoenix's version doesn't look much like the Joker, but he does look familiar—so here's a quick rundown of every thing Arthur actually does look like:
- Lord Farquaad on a bender
- Finn Wolfhard's dad
- Anton Chigurh if he only listened to the Eagles
- Jim Carrey's understudy in Kidding
- A DMV employee
- Every Daniel Clowes protagonist
- A former member of Pavement who got fired after Slanted and Enchanted
- The guy who comes back to the strip club with a weird gift for the stripper who gave him a lap dance the night before
- A shelved design for Walt in Breaking Bad
- Every person who's ever tried to cut their own bangs
- Normcore Prince Valiant
- Queer Eye's next project
It's hard to tell exactly how Phoenix's frowning, sleepy-eyed Arthur will turn into a psychotic clown wreaking havoc on the fine folks of Gotham—but maybe that's what will make him so goddamn terrifying. We'll have to wait until the movie hits theaters October 4, 2019 to find out. Until then, come on, Joaquin—why so serious?
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.
Follow VICE on Twitter.