It's officially official: Joker is going to be R-rated. It's been presumed for some time that Warner Bros.' upcoming movie about the iconic Batman villain would be crossing the PG-13 barrier, but now it's been confirmed by director Todd Phillips personally. "It will be rated R. I've been asked this a lot. Just assumed people knew. Sorry,” Phillips said, in response to a fan who inquired about the topic on Instagram. The question came about after Phillips shared the following new photo from the upcoming DC Comics adaptation.
The image itself doesn’t reveal anything we didn’t already know. It’s clear that Joaquin Phoenix is going to have something of a life as a clown before he makes a dark, evil turn. Phoenix definitely has a “Why so serious?” look going on here though.
This isn't going to be connected to other movies within what is commonly referred to as the DCEU, such as Aquaman or Shazam. Instead, this is going to be more of an "Elseworlds" tale that will, for the first time ever, fully explore the villain's origins on-screen. DC Comics, for years, has intentionally left his backstory rather vague. Joaquin Phoenix will portray a man named Arthur Fleck who, through the harshness of society, is transformed into Batman's arch nemesis. Here's the official synopsis for the movie.
“Joker centers around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips' exploration of Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.”
The cast includes Zazie Beetz (Deadpool 2), Frances Conroy (American Horror Story), Marc Maron (GLOW), Bill Camp (Molly's Game), Glenn Fleshler (Barry), Shea Whigham (Kong: Skull Island), Douglas Hodge (Penny Dreadful) and Josh Pais (Going in Style). Oscar-winner Robert De Niro also starts, with Brett Cullen (Narcos), on board to play Thomas Wayne, the father of Bruce Wayne.
Joker, in all of its R-rated glory, is set to hit theaters on October 4.