Empire Reveals Haunting New Look At Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker

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Now that the year’s three gigantic Marvel Studios films are out of the way, all eyes are on the last big comic book movie of 2019: Warner Bros.’ Joker. Compared to the usual highly secretive superhero fare, plenty of details regarding the Todd Phillips production are now out in the open, though it’s apparent that this is unlike any DC film to have come before.

Set in early 1980s, Joker follows Arthur Fleck – portrayed by Academy Award nominee Joaquin Phoenix – a failed stand-up comedian who turns to a life of crime in Gotham City, finally settling on a preferred origin story for one of the most mysterious villains in comic book history. Inspired by the films of Martin Scorsese, Joker looks more like a gritty Taxi Driver spinoff than a movie based around a Batman villain.

Now, the latest issue of Empire Magazine shines a spotlight on the pic and its titular character, giving us a brand new look at the dual sides of the Clown Prince of Crime:

Empire also reveals quite a few plot elements for the film: Joker will be set in 1981, which is the lowest point for crime and villainy in Gotham City, and finds Thomas Wayne running for mayor on the platform of cleaning it up. Arthur Fleck, who works as a clown by day and stand up comedian by night, suffers a nervous breakdown that results in the death of three Wall Street brokers, leading to a “Resist” movement against Gotham’s wealthy elite, of which Thomas is the face. From here on out, the movie becomes an interconnected web between Fleck and Wayne, and if you’re even somewhat familiar with Batman’s backstory you can probably piece together how this culminates.

That being said, Joker also sounds like it’s filled with all sorts of twists and turns, which is only fitting for a character that is known for his shattered psyche. There are even rumblings that Joaquin Phoenix could wind up with an Oscar nomination for his take on the character. Exciting, indeed, but we’ll just have to wait and see if it lives up to the hype when the movie comes out on October 4th.

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