As part of the “Joker” awards campaign, Warner Bros. has made the official screenplay available to download online for free (via Deadline). The script was penned by director Todd Phillips and co-writer Scott Silvers. Phillips revealed back in September shortly before “Joker” opened in theaters that he chose a period setting for the movie in part to ensure the story would have nothing to do with Warner Bros’ DC Extended Universe, which includes films such as “Justice League,” “Wonder Woman,” and “Aquaman.” Phillips was serious about severing ties between “Joker” and the DCEU as the official script begins with a note from him and Silvers making it clear “Joker” is a standalone narrative.
The “Joker” screenplay begins: “This story takes place in its own universe. It has no connection to any of the DC films that have come before it. We see it as a classic Warner Bros. movie. Gritty, intimate and oddly funny, the characters live in the real world and the stakes are personal. Although it is never mentioned in the film, this story takes place in the past. Let’s call it 1981.”
Phillips and Silver continue, “It’s a troubled time. The crime rate in Gotham is at record highs. A garbage strike has crippled the city for the past six weeks. And the divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘havenots’ is palpable. Dreams are beyond reach, slipping into delusions.”
The note precedes the actual “Joker” script, which runs a total of 102 pages. Anyone looking for answers to some of the film’s big questions might be disappointed. While Phillips has clarified that Zazie Beetz’s Sophie survives the film and is not killed by Arthur, nothing in the physical script suggests as much.
The “Joker” screenplay is a contender in this year’s Oscar race for Best Adapted Screenplay, alongside “The Irishman,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Little Women,” “The Two Popes,” and “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” IndieWire’s Anne Thompson currently predicts Phillips and Silvers’ script will nab a nomination. “Joker” is also being eyed to land nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix, Best Original Score, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, and more.
Read the “Joker” script in its entirety by downloading the screenplay here.