It’s really happened: Joker has become the most-nominated comic-book movie of all time at the Academy Awards.
With 11 nods at Oscars 2020, the DC film could win several major gongs on the night, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix, who plays the titular clown.
And it’s about time the character got some recognition. Batman’s arch-nemesis has a long, storied history in film, most notably Heath Ledger’s remarkable incarnation in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, for which he won a posthumous Academy Award (Ledger tragically passed away not long after the film was completed).
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But will Phoenix pick up an award for the origin story, shot under the direction of Todd Phillips (The Hangover)?
When is Joker released on DVD, Blu-ray and digital in the UK?
After a highly successful theatrical run that began back in October, Joker is now heading to DVD and Blu-ray with a release date of Monday 10th February 2020.
Is there a trailer for Joker?
Warner Bros released a final trailer on the 28th August 2019, which you can watch below.
Check out another, earlier teaser below – and read more analysis here:
Prior to the trailer’s release, Phillips shared a short teaser of the film, which sees Phoenix sans-makeup, staring at the camera, before transitioning into the Joker.
— Alone in Fiction (@AloneInFiction) April 3, 2019
What is Joker’s age rating?
Joker has been rated R in the US, and had an official BBFC rating of 15.
Phoenix, best known for his roles as Johnny Cash in Walk The Line and Commodus in Gladiator, leads the movie as Arthur Fleck, a failed stand-up comedian in 1980s Gotham City who is driven to insanity and turns into a criminal mastermind.
He is joined by Atlanta’s Zazie Beets, who plays his love interest, a cynical single mother called Sophie Dumond, and Robert De Niro as a talk show host named Murray Franklin. Marc Maron, Brian Tyree Henry, Bill Camp and Shea Whigham also feature.
At one point, Alec Baldwin was attached to the movie playing Batman’s father, Thomas Wayne (now portrayed by Brett Cullen) but dropped out. He cited “scheduling issues” but days before had taken to Twitter to dispel rumours he would seek inspiration from Donald Trump – who he impersonates on SNL – to play the character:
“Let me state, for the record, that I have NOT been hired to play a role in Todd Phillips’ Joker as some Donald Trump manque,” he wrote. “That is not happening. Not. Happening.”
Douglas Hodge will play the Waynes’ butler Alfred Pennyworth, with Dante Pereira-Olson cast as a young Bruce Wayne.
What is Joker about? (Plot spoilers!)
The film will track Arthur Fleck’s transformation from down-and-out comedian to Gotham City supervillain.
Joker director Todd Phillips has said that it was “a year-long process” convincing the studio to take a risk on his offbeat script (via the Los Angeles Times).
“We didn’t follow anything from the comic-books, which people are gonna be mad about,” Phillips said to 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.”
In an interview with IndieWire, Marc Maron also suggested that the film is going to be unlike any comic book film before it.
“I think it’s a very interesting approach to this world,” he said. “The approach that Todd Phillips has taken is more of an origin story and a character study of a mentally ill person that becomes The Joker. It’s more of an intimate and gritty movie with a very specific scope. It’s going to be really interesting to see how it comes out.”
It’s a view backed up by producer Michael E Uslan who drew comparisons to Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool during a recent appearance at fan event CCXP Cologne.
“I thought Guardians of the Galaxy was different and unique when it came out. I thought Deadpool was different and unique when it came out,” Uslan explained, as reported by Comicbook.com. “This Joker movie is different and unique and it’s unlike any comic book movie you’ve ever seen.”
And it’s a sentiment also echoed by fans who saw the trailer first at CinemaCon.
“First teaser for Joker is super dark and disturbing – the downfall of a man, dragged and beaten down until he turns and beats up on a world turned against him,” he said. We knew there was a good reason Joaquin took on the role…
“I used to think my life was a tragedy, but now I realize it’s a comedy.” Wow, first teaser for #Joker is super dark and disturbing - the downfall of a man, dragged and beaten down until he turns and beats up on a world turned against him. #CinemaCon pic.twitter.com/SDD8DGDd5o— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) April 2, 2019
Will there be a Joker sequel?
Joker could also be the first chapter in a series. “One thing I will tell you: I would do anything with Joaquin, any day of the week,” Phillips told Total Film. “There’s nobody like him. If he was willing to do it, and if people show up to this movie, and Warners came to us and said, ‘You know what? If you guys could think of something…’ Well, I have a feeling that he and I could think of something pretty cool.”
However, Phillips later walked back these comments, describing reports of a possible Joker sequel as “annoying”.
“We have no plan for a sequel,” he told press after a screening.
“The quote was, ‘I will do anything Joaquin wants to do.’ And I would. But the movie’s not set up to [have] a sequel. We always pitched it as one movie, and that’s it.”
Phoenix himself, however, appears to believe a follow-up could still be possible.
“You know, I wouldn’t have thought about this as my dream role. But now, honestly, I can’t stop thinking about it,” he said in a recent interview.
“I talked to Todd [Phillips, the director] a lot about what else we might be able to do, in general, just to work together, but also specifically, if there’s something else we can do with Joker that might be interesting.
“So, it ended up being a dream role. It’s nothing that I really wanted to do prior to working on this movie.”
“I don’t know that there is [more to do],” he continued.
“Me and Todd would still be shooting now if we could, right? Because it seemed endless, the possibilities of where we can go with the character.”
But don’t expect to see Phoenix’s Joker ever cross paths with Robert Pattinson’s Batman, whatever happens – Phillips has insisted that the two exist in different fictional universes and will never meet.
“We made this movie, I pitched it to Warner Bros. as one movie. It exists in its own world. That’s it,” he said.
Did Joker get good reviews?
Early buzz out of the Toronto International Film Festival was positive – the festival’s artistic director Cameron Bailey told Toronto Sun: “It’s a really original take on comic book movies and on the Joker character in particular.
“It’s set in the late ’70s/early ’80s and it feels like it was made then. It’s gritty in its look. It has references to Martin Scorsese’s filmmaking and it feels like a cinematic achievement on a high level. Although it’s working with very populist material, it has great ambition.”
Later critical reaction to the movie was also largely positive, with praise for Phoenix’s performance and the film’s dark tone, with comparisons made to two Martin Scorsese classics: Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy (which shares a star with Joker in Robert De Niro). The premiere also received an 8-minute long standing ovation after the credits rolled.
The film has also attracted some controversy, however, amidst allegations that it glorifies its murderous lead character.
Who else has played the Joker?
Phoenix is the latest in a long line of actors to portray the Joker across film and TV. Of course, Heath Ledger’s version in The Dark Knight is considered by many to be the greatest embodiment of the character.
In honor of April Fools Day. Who was a better Joker?— Ali Siddiqui (@asiddiqui15) April 1, 2019
RT for Jack Nicholson
Like for Heath Ledger pic.twitter.com/Ek3MNeDKzS
But Jack Nicholson’s version from 1989’s Batman (starring opposite Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader) and Jared Leto’s from 2016’s Suicide Squad have their fans, too.
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Leto was the most recent actor to put their spin on the role, but is not expected to return for James Gunn’s Suicide Squad sequel. And while DC presses forward with Phoenix’s take, it’s not looking like Leto will reprise the role anytime soon.
Other favourites to have portrayed the Joker include Mark Hamill’s version from Batman: The Animated Series and several video games and Zach Galifianakis’ portrayal in The Lego Batman Movie.
When is Joker is released on DVD, Blu-ray and digital on Monday 10th February 2020