Warner Bros. has hired Alec Baldwin to appear opposite Joaquin Phoenix in its “Joker” origin film, playing the role of Thomas Wayne, the father of Batman, a.k.a. Bruce Wayne.
Variety first reported that Phoenix was in talks to play the Clown Prince of Crime. As soon as his deal was finalized, the studio gave the greenlight to a September start date with a budget in the moderate $55 million dollar range.
Todd Phillips (“The Hangover” franchise) is on board to co-write and direct. Jared Leto will not appear in this Joker film. Leto played the Joker in 2016’s “Suicide Squad” and is expected to be back for the “Suicide Squad” sequel, along with another standalone Joker movie that will be separate from Phoenix’s Joker project.
Scott Silver is a co-writer with Phillips on the Joker origins film, which will delve into how the Joker became a criminal mastermind. Robert De Niro is portraying a talk-show host who plays a part in driving Phoenix’s character to go mad. Zazie Beetz and Marc Maron are also starring.
I’ve written that there are way too many Joker movies in production right now and that was about a month ago. By the time this article comes out, I’m sure DC will fire up 5-6 more Joker-centric movies for no reason at all.
But we need to have a discussion about this specific Todd Phillips directed Joker crime drama starring Joaquin Phoenix and a cast of characters that will surely make this an absolute mess and let’s start with the director.
Todd Phillips’s best movie is The Hangover which is a comedy classic. But what’s his second best movie? The Hangover 2? How confident are we in giving the keys to a gritty crime drama about a stand-up comedian gone bad to the creator of Starsky & Hutch. This guy literally took all of the rejected Zach Galifianakis from The Hangover and made Due Date with them.
Robert De Niro is in this movie as what I imagine amounts as a favor to his pal Martin Scorcese who is the producer. I’ve seen zero seconds of this movie and I’m already distracted by this weird ass cameo. Want to take away from the plot of your movie? Have De Niro playing a minor role in the middle of it for no reason.
Oh, also Marc Maron is in this too or whatever.
Alec Baldwin being in this movie is fine. The problem is, he’s playing Thomas Wayne, father of Bruce Wayne. As you know, Batman only exists because Thomas Wayne is dead so either A.) There are a bunch of flashbacks and we see Bruce Wayne’s parents die again because it’s impossible to make a Batman story without showing a double murder or B.) This movie takes place prior to Batman and The Joker is a generation older than Batman.
What makes Batman villains fascinating is that they exist as a reaction to Batman’s tyranny over the city. Crime lords and maniacs saw a man running around as a bat and decided to follow suit. The Joker watched Batman rise and was influenced by his impact on Gotham City.
I reallyyyyy don’t care for a story in which The Joker manifests himself a full like, 30 years before Batman fights crime for the first time and The Joker is just arguing with police officers and stuff. Hard pass.
Here is the one shining light: Zazie Beatz will be in this movie which means at least a few scenes are going to be must-watch. Put Zazie Beatz in everything.