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Joaquin Phoenix's 'Joker' isn't clowning around

Warner Bros. Pictures is sending in the clowns. Director Todd Phillips has shared to Instagram a first official look at three time Academy Award nominee Joaquin Phoenix as “Arthur,” the man destined to become DC Comics‘ “Clown Prince of Crime” in next year’s “Joker” movie. Check out the full post below:

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Arthur.

A post shared by Todd Phillips (@toddphillips1) on

“Joker” centers around the iconic “Batman” arch nemesis and serves as an original, standalone story never before seen on the big screen. Phillips’ exploration of a man disregarded by society is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale. Phillips is directing from a screenplay he co-wrote with writer Scott Silver (“The Fighter”).

The Joker made his first comic book appearance in the first issue of “Batman” in 1940 (the Caped Crusader had debuted himself the previous year in the pages of “Detective Comics”). Created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson, the Joker character was heavily inspired by the 1928 silent feature “The Man Who Laughs”.

Although the Joker has had a number of identities over the years (including the big screen Joe Chill version memorably played by Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s 1989 “Batman”), the “Joker” movie is developing an all new alter ego, Arthur, who is rumored to have the last name Fleck. Filmmaker (and DC Comics superfan) Kevin Smith has already taken to social media with the suggestion that “Arthur Fleck” may be an intentional nod to the metanarrative of the big screen DC Universe:

“Joker” is produced by Emma Tillinger Koskoff and executive produced by Richard Baratta. Look for it on the big screen October 4, 2019.

Silas Lesnick is the Senior Editor of Moviebill. He has been covering entertainment news out of Los Angeles for more than a decade. You can reach him via e-mail or on Twitter.