The Joker has had many “real” names throughout his storied history, and we now know what Joaquin Phoenix’s alias will be in Todd Phillips’ upcoming film about Batman’s arch-nemesis: Arthur. That’s courtesy of an Instagram post made by the director this afternoon, which appears to show the Clown Prince of Crime before his transformation — he has no makeup or scars, just a questionable haircut.
Previously played by Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger (who won a posthumous Oscar for his performance), and Jared Leto, the Joker has long been one of the comic-book world’s most notorious villains. That brings certain expectations to the film, which Phoenix doesn’t seem to mind: “I could care less,” he said earlier this summer. “I don’t really think that much about what people think. Who cares, who cares? My approach to every movie is the same. What I’m interested in is the filmmaker and the idea of the character.”
Phoenix has never ventured into the superhero world before, which, along with the rest of the cast — which also includes Marc Maron, Zazie Beetz, and Robert De Niro — has inspired cautious optimism among some who usually regard such films with suspicion. We’ll see whether that faith is well placed when the as-yet untitled film is released on October 4, 2019.