Actor Robert De Niro ("Mary Shelley's Frankenstein") will co-star in writer/director Todd Philips' "Joker" movie, playing an aging, a-hole talk show host, who gives the cold shoulder to a struggling comic entertainer (Joaquin Phoenix):
Phoenix will play 'Arthur Fleck' aka 'Joker' in the 'Batman' spin-off stand alone feature opening October 4, 2019:
"...'Arthur Fleck' returns home to care for his aging mother 'Penny' before meeting single mother and love interest 'Sophie Dumond' .
"Fleck's mother was very attractive in her youth, still obsessed with her former employer, 'Thomas Wayne, the father of 'Bruce, making Fleck, Thomas Wayne's bastard son and half-brother to the future 'Batman'..."
"I take a lot of time and consideration when making decisions and what I'm gonna' work on," said Phoenix.
"It feels unique, it is its own world in some ways, and maybe, mostly, it scares the shit out of me or something. It might as well be the thing that scares you the most.
"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..."
Created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson, the 'Joker' debuted in the first issue of DC Comics' "Batman" (April 25, 1940)...
...inspired by the tragic, German Expressionist film "The Man Who Laughs", based on the novel by author Victor Hugo.
In "The Man Who Laughs", actor Conrad Veidt plays 'Gwynplaine', whose face is permanently disfigured into a grotesque grin, after offending 'King James II'.
Gwynplaine becomes a traveling freak, selling his disfigurement for money, while falling in love with a blind woman.
DC's 'Joker', is usually portrayed as a deranged, criminal mastermind, with a warped, sadistic sense of humor.
He evolved into a 'goofy prankster' in the late 1950's in response to regulations by the 'Comics Code Authority'...
...before returning to his darker roots.
The most common origin story sees him falling into a tank of acid chemical waste...
...bleaching his skin white, hair green and lips bright red, with the resulting look driving him insane.
...(played by Cesar Romero) and in film by Jack Nicholson in "Batman" (1989), Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight" (2008), and Jared Leto in "Suicide Squad" (2016).
Click the images to enlarge and Sneak Peek "The Man Who Laughs"...