'Joker': First Look at Joaquin Phoenix in Character

Joker director Todd Phillips shared the first official photo of Joaquin Phoenix as the title villain in the upcoming DC Comics movie on his Instagram page Sunday.

joaquin phoenix joker instagram first look
(Photo: Instagram/Todd Phillips)

The only word Phillips included in the caption was "Arthur," which appears to confirm previous rumors that the Joker's real name will be Arthur Fleck in the film.

Phillips shared the photo on the same day paparazzi photos from the set in New York City surfaced on JustJared. The photos show Phoenix smiling, with long hair and before his character dons the signature white make-up and red lipstick.

Back in July, That Hashtag Show reported that Arthur Fleck will be the Joker's name before he becomes Batman's greatest nemesis. The site went on to suggest that the plot involves Arthur going back to Gotham City to live with his aging mother, and his mind is eventually warped from stand-up comedian to the maniacal criminal. There might also be a look at how the Joker is linked to Bruce Wayne's parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne.

The importance of Thomas Wayne in the story appeared to be confirmed in August, when Alec Baldwin was reportedly cast in the role. However, Baldwin later dropped out of the project due to "scheduling" issues.

Joker reportedly has a Taxi Driver-esque feel, and counts Martin Scorsese as an executive producer. Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy and Marc Maron also star.

In a recent interview with Collider, Phoenix promised that the new film defies the convention of a typical comic book movie.

"I wouldn't quite classify this as like any genre. 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," Phoenix explained.

"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," the actor continued. "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 hits theaters on Oct. 4, 2019.


Photo credit: Instagram/Todd Phillips