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‘Joker’: Todd Phillips Confirms Gritty Joaquin Phoenix-Starring Batman Spinoff Will Be Rated R

Phillips' villain origin story has long looked like a strong contender for the adult-skewing rating, but the filmmaker confirmed it over the weekend.



Warner Bros.

Since its inception, there’s been little question that Todd Phillips’ much-anticipated Batman villain spinoff “Joker” would be a superhero story of the dark and gritty variety, but the filmmaker has now confirmed that the Joaquin Phoenix-starring film will be rated R. In a new Instagram post, Phillips shared a fresh look at Phoenix in character, noting that he and his star are putting “finishing touches” on the fall release.

In the comments, a curious fan asked Phillips about the MPAA rating for the film, to which Phillips replied, “it will be Rated R. I’ve been asked this a lot. Just assumed people knew.”

The film will join a number of recent other R-rated superhero films, including both “Deadpool” features and “Watchmen.” While the film is not a part of the official DC Extended Universe, it does hail from the DCEU’s home studio Warner Bros., which has mostly offered superhero films in the PG-13 rating range (even the darker of the series’ entries like “Suicide Squad” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”).

“Joker” is set in 1981 and stars Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, a stand-up comedian whose failed attempts to become famous force him into the criminal underworld of Gotham City. The supporting cast includes Robert De Niro as a talk show host who factors into Arthur’s psychological downfall and “Atlanta” and “Deadpool” favorite Zazie Beetz as a single mother who is Arthur’s love interest. Frances Conroy, Bill Camp, and Marc Maron co-star.

The film has been described as hewing to the tone of Martin Scorsese’s 1970s gangster movies, including “Mean Streets.” Phoenix has described the movie as feeling more like a low-budget indie than a giant comic book movie, while Marc Maron recently shared “Joker” is the “character study of a mentally ill person.”

You can see Phillips’ Instagram below, in which he’s active in the comments when it comes to answering questions from excited fans.

View this post on Instagram

Finishing touches.

A post shared by Todd Phillips (@toddphillips1) on

Warner Bros. will release “Joker” in theaters nationwide October 4. Watch the first official trailer below.

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