'The Joker': Todd Phillips Releases The First Look At Joaquin Phoenix

And his name is… apparently Arthur. Trying to ahead of the game as the movie prepares to shoot, and beat set photos from surfacing, director Todd Phillips has revealed the first look of Joaquin Phoenix in “The Joker” movie on his Instagram account. Of course, it’s a non-traditional look, the criminal mastermind without make-up, looking a lot like, well, Joaquin Phoenix with a bad wig. The post comes with no commentary other than the word “Arthur” that is presumably the Joker’s name before he turns into the clown prince of crime.

READ MORE: Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘Joker’ Stand-Alone Film Set For A 2019 Release Date

Production on Phillips’ ‘Joker’ movie has begun. The film is an “exploration of a man disregarded by society that is not only a gritty character study but also a broader cautionary tale.” It’s also an origin story: how the Joker came into being hence the character without makeup, for now.  Martin Scorsese was originally supposed to executive-produce the movie, and that’s probably because Phillips’ movie is said to be inspired by “King of Comedy,” about a failing comedian (Robert De Niro) who kidnaps a popular talk-show host to gain fame.

Fittingly, De Niro also stars in “The Joker,” and the roles are reversed: the Scorsese-muse will now be playing a smug TV show host would end up a kind of trigger to the sociopathic Joker-to-be. “The Joker” also stars Zazie BeetzMarc Maron, and Bryan Callen. Alec Baldwin was recently cast as Thomas Wayne, Batman’s dad, but then abruptly dropped out, suggesting any clown could play the role.

READ MORE: Matt Reeves’ ‘Batman’ Films Will Focus On A Younger Caped Crusader Without Ben Affleck

Confused how this movie fits into the current DC Extended Universe (DCEU) where Jared Leto already stars as The Joker? Don’t worry; everyone’s as perplexed as you are. But the short explanation is: they’re essentially different universes. The current connected DCEU which includes upcoming films like “Aquaman,” “Shazam!” and “Wonder Woman 1984” is separate from the film Phillips is directing. “The Joker” movie will fall under an as-of-yet-unnamed DC Film banner that will signify a darker, more adult world for the heroes and villains. Matt Reeves‘ gestating “The Batman” film (that won’t star Ben Affleck) is expected to fall under the same shingle.

Scott Silver co-wrote the script with Phillips. “The Joker” movie is scheduled to hit theaters Oct. 4, 2019.