Five years after the project was first imagined, Joaquin Phoenix is bringing to life Gotham’s most infamous clown to cinemas in gritty character study Joker.
But this won’t be a version of the comic book villain we’ve seen on screen before. Rather than focusing on his battles with Batman, the new film from director Todd Phillips will solely explore the downward spiral of Arthur Fleck, a failed stand-up comedian who turns to a life of crime and chaos.
And here’s something that’ll put a smile on that face: according to the critics, the film delivers on this intriguing premise, its stars delivering pitch-perfect performances.
But who exactly are the cast and characters of Joker? Here’s all you need to know…
Joaquin Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck/Joker
Rather than the classic super-villain who tumbled into a vat of chemicals, Joaquin Phoenix plays a version of the Joker not seen in the comics. For starters, Phoenix’s character actually has a real name: Arthur Fleck.
Fleck is described as a “mentally ill, impoverished stand-up comedian disregarded by society”.
Losing 52 pounds for the role, Phoenix has said Fleck’s signature chuckle was based on videos he watched of people suffering from pathological laughter, a neurological disorder that makes individuals laugh uncontrollably.
What else has Joaquin Phoenix been in?
Joaquin Phoenix (pronounced HWAK-in Phoenix) has starred in a string of Hollywood films, playing Johnny Cash in biopic Walk the Line, Emperor Commodus in Gladiator, Theodore in Her and Freddie Quell in The Master.
Robert De Niro plays Murray Franklin
Franklin is a talk show host who plays a key role in Arthur’s downfall.
What else has Robert De Niro been in?
One of the legends of Hollywood, the two-time Oscar winner has enjoyed roles in The Godfather Part II, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Silver Linings Playbook, Joy, Stardust and The Deer Hunter. And yes, he also played the dad in Meet the Parents/Fockers.
Zazie Beetz plays Sophie Dumond
Dumond is a cynical single mum who’s Arthur’s key love interest.
What else has Zazie Beetz been in?
A relative newcomer to screen, you probably know her as lucky superhero Domino in Deadpool 2. Beetz has also had roles in Netflix anthology series Easy and Donald Glover comedy-drama Atlanta.
Frances Conroy plays Penny Fleck
Penny is Arthur’s very frail mother.
What else has Frances Conroy been in?
Best known as matriarch Ruth Fisher from Six Feet Under, you may have also seen Conroy in American Horror Story, Arrested Development and How I Met Your Mother.
Marc Maron portrays Ted Marco
Marco is Arthur’s agent.
What else has Marc Maron been in?
Sam from Netflix’s GLOW: that’s where you know him from. But if you don’t recognise him from the wrestling drama, you may also know the comedian from his own TV series Maron and his many stand-up specials.
Brett Cullen plays Thomas Wayne
Father to future Batman Bruce Wayne, Thomas is a billionaire philanthropist running for mayor of Gotham.
What else has Brett Cullen been in?
Apollo 13, Lost, Narcos, Desperate Housewives, Ghost Rider, Person of Interest: Cullen has appeared in them all – albeit in minor roles.
Interestingly, Cullen has previously starred in the Batman universe, appearing as Congressman Byron Gilley in The Dark Knight Rises
Douglas Hodge plays Alfred Pennyworth
Alfred is the Wayne family butler, the character recently played by Jeremy Irons in the DCU and Michael Caine in the Chris Nolan Batman trilogy.
Who is Douglas Hodge?
Black Mirror fans will recognise Hodge as Rolo Haynes, the owner of the Easter Egg-packed Black Museums. Elsewhere, he’s starred in The Night Manager, Red Sparrow, The Report, Catastrophe and Skins.
Dante Pereira-Olson plays Bruce Wayne
Yes, it’s Bruce Wayne, the alter ego of Batman. However, don’t expect any grappling gun/utility belt action from Joker’s child-age version of Bruce.
What else has Dante Pereira-Olson been in?
Although most will recognise the child actor as Gerry Scaramucci from comedy-drama Happy, Pereira-Olson also played a young version of a certain Joaquin Phoenix in 2017 film You Were Never Really Here.
Joker will be released on 4th October 2019 in UK cinemas