Joker Movie Poster

Trivia for Joker

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  • This is an origin story.
  • The film will reportedly feature a younger actor portraying the Joker and will be separate from the DC Extended Universe and be part of a new film label by DC Comics and Warner Bros. Joaquin Phoenix is only 2½ years younger than Jared Leto.
  • Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy expressed hope that Joker voice actor Mark Hamill could reprise the role in the film while DC Extended Universe Joker actor Jared Leto wanted to reprise the role as well.
  • The studio was looking at Leonardo DiCaprio as The Joker. Also considered were Bradley Cooper, Jake Gyllenhaal, Adam Driver, James Franco, Will Poulter, Dan Stevens, Paul Dano, Lakieth Stanfield, Caleb Landry Jones, Iwan Rheon, and Bill Skarsg?rd.
  • The actor Martin Ballantyne, who portrayed the Jokers Henchman in the Dark Knight, expressed an interest in reprising his role.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio turned down the role of the Joker in order to work on Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (releases in 2019).
  • First time Todd Phillips has directed a non-comedic film.
  • As of July 18th 2018, the movie has been titled Joker and is being released on October 4th 2019 going up against Zombieland 2 which was also officially dated on July 18th 2018.
  • Frances McDormand turned down the Penny role.
  • This is Zazie Beetz's second comic book movie after Deadpool 2 (2018).
  • Viggo Mortensen turned down the role as Thomas Wayne.
  • Viggo Mortensen reportedly turned down the role of Thomas Wayne.
  • Robert De Niro was intended to play Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne's father, but pulled out prior to the start of shooting.
  • Alec Baldwin was in talks to play Thomas Wayne, but dropped out a day after being announced in the role, due to scheduling conflicts.
  • This is Frances Conroy's first live-action DC movie from a Batman villain since Catwoman (2004). She was also a voice actor in All-Star Superman (2011) and Superman: Unbound (2013).
  • The movie is meant to start a new company that will produce standalone DC movies.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio and Bill Skarsgård were rumored to play the Joker.
  • On an Instagram post from Todd Phillips, he reveals a picture with the caption "Arthur," likely meaning the Joker's original name in the film will be Arthur.
  • This will be Frances Conroy's second live action DC movie from a Batman villain after Catwoman (2004).
  • Brett Cullen also appears as Congressman Gilley in The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
  • The character of the Joker is named Arthur Fleck. Or A.Fleck, as a nod to Ben Affleck who portrayed Batman in the DCEU.
  • Three of the previous actors who have played the Joker (Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, and Jared Leto) are Oscar winners, with Ledger winning for playing The Joker. Joaquin Phoenix has been nominated for an Oscar three times.
  • Brett Cullen stars as Thomas Wayne, making this his second appearance in a Batman related film following his role as Congressman Gilley in The Dark Knight Rises.
  • Third iteration of the character appearing to have long hair, following Kevin Michael Richardson's animated version in The Batman (2004) and Heath Ledger's iconic portrayal in The Dark Knight (2008).
  • Joaquin Phoenix is the fourth Gladiator (2000) actor to star in a DC movie. Russell Crowe was in Man of Steel (2013), Connie Nielsen was in both Wonder Woman and Justice League (2017), and Djimon Hounsou is in Aquaman (2018) and Shazam! (2019).
  • Early footage shows Arthur walking by a sign for Amusement Mile, Gotham City's version of Coney Island, which features prominently in the original Killing Joke graphic novel. Joker co-creator Bill Finger was partly inspired by a sign for Steeplechase Park in the real Coney Island which featured a grotesque grinning face.
  • Joaquin Phoenix who plays Joker in this film has an interesting coincidence with his name: first two letters of his name coincides with the character he plays 'Jo'ker and 'Jo'aquin. Also his name ends with 'quin' which also is the name of Joker's girlfriend Harley Quinn who stars alongside joker in various mainstream media.
  • This will be Robert De Niro's first appearance in a comic book adaptation since Stardust (2007)
  • This is Bill Camp and Douglas Hodge's first collaboration since Red Sparrow (2018), which also starred Jeremy Irons who plays Alfred Pennyworth in the DCEU.
  • This is Bill Camp's second comic book movie in 2019 since he was in The Kitchen (2019).
  • The director, Todd Phillips, revealed on Instagram that shooting had wrapped on 19th of December 2018.
  • Joaquin Phoenix is dating Rooney Mara, who was among the actresses considered to play The Joker's girlfriend, Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad (2016).
  • Joaquin phoenix is (so far) the only actor to play the joker in a live action movie to not have won an academy award.
  • The Joker's make-up is very similar to John Wayne Gacy's, a serial killer who would often entertain children while dressed as Pogo the Clown. This make-up style was shunned by working clowns at the time, as they strictly prohibit "sharp" ends in their make-up, as it scares children. Phillip's actually had the real-life Gacy do the artwork for the posters of his documentary Mike Bremer and thanked him in the closing credits of it.
  • Although Ben Affleck has chosen not to reprise his role as Batman, the Jokers name is reportedly set as "Arthur Fleck" -- "A. Fleck" for short leading fans to believe this may be paying homage to Affleck
  • Zazie Beetz and Brian Tyree Henry also co star in the FX's comedy drama show Atlanta (2016).
  • The filmmakers cite Alan Moore's comic "The Killing Joke", which tells the Joker's origin and descent into insanity, and the Martin Scorsese films Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980) and The King of Comedy (1982) as an influence on the film.
  • Joaquin Phoenix lost a lot of weight for his role as the Joker. It was so serious that filming could only be done once, with no opportunity for reshoots. Todd Phillips had to write the script during production. According to Zazie Beetz, Phillips would work on the script with the actors in his trailer, then they'd learn their lines while hair and makeup were applied, and they'd shoot it that day.
  • Due to differences in time zones the first trailer was released on April 4th in Australia which is also the birthday of the late Australian actor Heath Ledger who played Joker in The Dark Knight (2008).
  • Joaquin Phoenix is the seventh actor to portray Joker on the silver screen. He follows Cesar Romero (Batman (1966)), Jack Nicholson (Batman (1989)), Mark Hamill (Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)), Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight (2008)), Jared Leto (Suicide Squad (2016)), and Zach Galifianakis (The Lego Batman Movie (2017)).
  • Joaquin Phoenix's first role in a comic book film. He previously turned down the title role in Doctor Strange (2016) as well as the chance to replace Edward Norton as Bruce Banner/Hulk in The Avengers (2012), because he was unwilling to sign on to the multi-picture deal that Marvel Studios was requiring.
  • The song heard in the teaser trailer is "Smile", composed by Charles Chaplin for his film Modern Times (1936).
  • Sharon Washington's character is named Debra Kane as a tribute to Batman's creator Bob Kane.
  • Martin Ballantyne, who portrayed Joker's Henchman in The Dark Knight (2008), expressed a preference to reprise his role for this film.
  • Joaquin Phoenix was good friends with the late Heath Ledger who won an Oscar for his portrayal as The Joker in The Dark Knight (2008).
  • This film is the first theatrical live-action Batman spin-off since Suicide Squad (2016).
  • Joaquin Phoenix was considered for the role of Batman in Darren Aronofsky's canceled "Batman: Year One" movie.
  • Shailene Woodley was offered the role of Sophie Dumond but turned it down due to scheduling conflicts with Big Little Lies (2017). Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Dakota Johnson and Aja Naomi King were all considered for the the part. Winstead went on to play Helena Bertinelli/Huntress in Birds of Prey (2020). Zazie Beetz was cast in the role.
  • Todd Phillips confirmed that it will be rated R, making it the second DC movie featuring the Joker to be rated R after, Batman: The Killing Joke (2016).
  • Actor Dante Pereira-Olson, who played young Bruce Wayne in this movie, has previously played a young version of Joaquin Phoenix's character Joe in You Were Never Really Here (2017).
  • Dante Pereira-Olson, who played young Bruce Wayne, previously played a young version of Joaquin Phoenix's character Joe in You Were Never Really Here (2017).
  • The Joker's name is Arthur Fleck- A. Fleck for short. This may be paying homage to Ben Affleck, who previously played Batman.
  • The filmmakers used the working title 'Romero' while filming to keep the film's production a secret. The name could be homage to Cesar Romero, who also played the character.
  • Robert De Niro previously appeared in Heat (1995) opposite previous Batman actor Val Kilmer. The bank robbery in Heat (1995) was also the inspiration for the opening sequence of The Dark Knight (2008), with William Fichtner appearing in both movies. De Niro also turned down a role in The Departed (2006) that went to Jack Nicholson, who played The Joker in Batman (1989).
  • At 5'10" ft (177 cm), Joaquin Phoenix is the second shortest actor to portray the Joker, next only to Jared Leto at 5'8" ft (173 cm).
  • The first theatrical DC Comics film to be rated R since Watchmen (2009), released ten years earlier.
  • The joke "When I was a little boy and told people I was going to be comedian, everyone laughed at me. Well no one's laughing now" is inspired by the late British comedian Bob Monkhouse's "People used to laugh at me when I said I wanted to be a comedian. Well they're not laughing now."
  • With Joaquin Phoenix playing the Joker, all the major cast members of Gladiator (2000) have played mentors/origin story characters for all the DC superheroes. Russell Crowe has played Superman's father Jor-El in Man of Steel (2013), Connie Nielsen played Princess Diana 's mother Queen Hippolyta in Wonder Woman (2017) and Djimon Hounsou played Shazam the wizard in Shazam! (2019) and King Ricou in Aquaman (2018). (Oliver Reed died before Gladiator was released, and Richard Harris died two years later, just after originating the role of Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movies)
  • Co-writer and director Todd Phillips doesn't see Joker as that big of a departure from comedy. "It's different tonally than a lot of my work, but ultimately it's storytelling. I was influenced by the movies I grew up on, character studies of the 70s, so I thought why can't you do genre film like that in the comic book world, a deep dive on a character like Joker. I thought with a great actor we could really do something special."
  • Co-writer and Director Todd Phillips said he doesn't see Joker as that big of a departure from comedy. "It's different tonally than a lot of my work, but ultimately it's storytelling. I was influenced by the movies I grew up on, character studies of the 70s, so I thought why can't you do genre film like that in the comic book world -- a deep dive on a character like Joker. I thought with a great actor we could really do something special."
  • River Phoenix said he was drawn to the project because "we were going to approach it in our own way. I didn't refer to any past iterations of the character. It just felt like it was our creation." He expanded on that to add, "I think what was so attractive is he's so hard to define and you don't really want to define him. There were times I would find I was identifying certain parts of his personality and then I would back away from that because I wanted there to remain a kind of mystery. Every day felt like we were discovering new aspects of the character."
  • Todd Phillips described Joaquin Phoenix's take on Arthur as, "a guy who is searching for identity who mistakenly becomes a symbol. His goal genuinely is to make people laugh and bring joy to the world."
  • An early reference for Todd Phillips and co-screenwriter Scott Silver was the silent film The Man Who Laughs (1928). They felt they had "a lot of freedom because Joker never really had an origins story in the comics. We thought it was really liberating because there really were no rules or boundaries, Scott and I just pushed each other every day to come up with something totally insane."
  • In terms of prep, the first part for Joaquin Phoenix was physical: "You really start to go mad when you start to lose that much weight in that amount of time." He also read about political assassins and would-be assassins, but was careful not to overly define Arthur. "I wanted the freedom to create something that wasn't identifiable. I didn't want a psychologist to be able to identify the kind of person he was," he explained. A key element of finding the character came during rehearsal when Todd Phillips gave Phoenix a journal which acts as a prop in the film. Said Phoenix, "That was really helpful but I wasn't sure how to start. It became a really important part of discovery for me at that time."
  • For the Joker's laugh, Todd Phillips broke down into three types: "the affliction laugh, the one of the guys laugh and the authentic joy laugh", the director described it to Joaquin Phoenix as "something that is almost painful, part of him that's trying to emerge." That was "a really interesting way of looking at this laugh. We all assume what a Joker laugh is. This was new and exciting."
  • Joaquin Phoenix disagreed about gravitating towards tormented characters, stating he had been "interested in the light of Arthur for lack of a better word. It wasn't just the torment, it was the joy, his struggle to find happiness and to feel connected. To have warmth and love. I don't think of a character as tormented." Ultimately, Phoenix said of Arthur/Joker, "He was so many different things to me at different times, the more unpredictable it was the more inspiring."
  • When asked about violence in the R-rated film, Todd Phillips said, "Violence in the movie was always meant to be a slow burn. People assume and think it's going to be a really violent movie; it affects you differently. You could watch something like John Wick 3 and there's a much higher amount of violence. We tried to paint it with as realistic a brush as possible so that when it comes it feels like a punch in the stomach. But it's all a balancing act of tone." And when asked about tone, "I think movies are oftentimes mirrors of society, but never molders. We wrote it in 2017 so inevitably certain themes find their way in." When he continued, "It's not a political film" there was laughter in the press room, and he added "for some I think it depends the lens which you view it through."
  • When asked if Joker meant anything for the DC/Marvel rivalry, Todd Phillips stated: "I'm not about the competition with Marvel and I've not been in the comic book world. When we conceived of this idea, it was a different approach. I don't know the sort of effect it will have with other filmmakers. Comic movies are doing really well. They don't need to change."
  • During a press conference at the Venice International Film Festival, Joaquin Phoenix was asked if he prepared for the role by watching any other takes on the character, and it seems this version does not find its roots in anything that's come before. "For me what the attraction to make this film, this character, was that we were going to approach it in our own way, so for me, I didn't refer to any past iterations of the character." Phoenix said. "It was just something that felt like it was our creation in some ways and I think that's what was really important for me and key to it."
  • The premiere featured at the Venice Film Festival, drew an eight-minute standing ovation.
  • This is the first live-action Batman related film to be given a certified R rating, despite the fact that Batman does not appear in the movie.
  • The premiere of the film at the Venice Film Festival drew an eight-minute standing ovation.
  • Joaquin Phoenix talked about how his conception of Joker changed during production and what interested him in the character. "Throughout the course of shooting it felt like every day we were discovering new parts of his personality, up until the very last day," said Phoenix. "It was his struggle to find happiness and to feel connected and to feel warmth and love and that's the part of the character I was interested in. He was so many different things to me. Who he was in the first few weeks of shooting was completely different than who he was in the end. He was constantly evolving. I've never had an experience like this. The more unpredictable and looser we left it, the more exciting it was."
  • Speaking about the villain's iconic laugh, Joaquin Phoenix called it "Something that's almost painful. I think for Joker it's a part of him that wants to emerge. I think we all kind of assume what a Joker laugh is and it felt like a new, fresh way of looking at it. I didn't think that I could do it", he added. "I kind of practiced alone but I asked Todd to come over to audition my laugh. I felt like I had to be able to do it on the spot and in front of somebody else. It was really uncomfortable. It took me a long time".
  • Received an 8-minute standing ovation after a screening at the Venice Film Festival.
  • According to the MSN.com film website, this film got made because the producers pitched a production budget of just $35 million to Warner Bros, and the actual final cost of the film (i.e before advertising, distribution and promotion) stayed within that figure. This is partly because Todd Phillips is known to not be a flamboyant director, the film is not an effects heavy movie and Joaquin Phoenix is not considered to be an expensive A list superstar actor but a down to earth character actor who prefers to work on low key projects.
  • Phoenix stated about the villain's iconic laugh, calling it "something that's almost painful. I think for Joker it's a part of him that wants to emerge. I think we all kind of assume what a Joker laugh is and it felt like a new, fresh way of looking at it." "I didn't think that I could do it," he added. "I kind of practiced alone but I asked Todd to come over to audition my laugh. I felt like I had to be able to do it on the spot and in front of somebody else. It was really uncomfortable. It took me a long time." Thank you,
  • Co-writer and Director Todd Phillips said he doesn't see the film as that big of a departure from comedy. "It's different tonally than a lot of my work, but ultimately it's storytelling. I was influenced by the movies I grew up on, character studies of the 70s, so I thought why can't you do genre film like that in the comic book world -- a deep dive on a character like Joker. I thought with a great actor we could really do something special."
  • Joaquin Phoenix said he was drawn to the project because "we were going to approach it in our own way. I didn't refer to any past iterations of the character. It just felt like it was our creation." He expanded on that to add, "I think what was so attractive is he's so hard to define and you don't really want to define him. There were times I would find I was identifying certain parts of his personality and then I would back away from that because I wanted there to remain a kind of mystery. Every day felt like we were discovering new aspects of the character."
  • Joaquin Phoenix disagreed about gravitating towards tormented characters, stating he had been "interested in the light of Arthur for lack of a better word. It wasn't just the torment, it was the joy, his struggle to find happiness and to feel connected. To have warmth and love. I don't think of a character as tormented." Ultimately, Phoenix said of Arthur/Joker, "He was so many different things to me at different times, the more unpredictable it was the more inspiring."
  • Received an 8 minutes standing ovation during it's premiere at the Venice film festival
  • Speaking at the Venice Film Festival where the film premiered, Joaquin Phoenix stated that he wanted his version of the Joker to be extremely complex, so he did extensive research on various personality disorders so that even psychiatrists would not be able to identify what his character was. He also added that even the filmmaker and Phoenix himself were in the process of discovering new aspects of the character and his personality up until the very last day of the shooting.
  • Joaquin Phoenix explained he wanted his spin on the character to be unidentifiable by real-world psychiatrists after noting he didn't consult past portrayals of the Joker, including Heath Ledger's Academy Award-winning performance. "The attraction to make this film and this character was that we were going to approach it in our own way, so, for me, I didn't refer to any past iterations of the character," Phoenix said. "It was just something that felt like it was our creation in some ways, and I think that's what was really important for me and key to it."
  • Joaquin Phoenix didn't exactly say that he went mad doing the role of the title character. What he actually said, during the movie's press conference: "The first thing for us was the weight loss. I think that's really what I started with. And, as it turns out, that then affects your psychology. You start to go mad when you lose that amount of weight in that amount of time."
  • Venice Film Festival director Alberto Barbera has identified Joker as an early Oscar contender following its premiere screening at the 76th annual event on Saturday. In an interview with Deadline, Barbera discussed Joker's resoundingly positive reception and further stoked awards buzz by endorsing critics' praise for Joaquin Phoenix's apparent Oscar-worthy performance as the Clown Prince of Crime. "They're very good," he said of the film's Academy prospects. "Absolutely, it will be in the running. The film deserves the reception it is getting. It goes beyond the boundaries of the genre. Joaquin Phoenix's performance is outstanding and Todd Phillips did a great job."
  • Joaquin Phoenix based his laugh on "videos of people suffering from pathological laughter." He also sought to portray a character with which audiences could not identify.
  • Joaquin Phoenix had been interested in a low-budget "character study" of a comic book character, and said the film "feels unique, it is its own world in some ways, and maybe [...] It might as well be the thing that scares you the most.
  • Robert De Niro said his role in Joker pays homage to his character from The King of Comedy (1982), Rupert Pupkin, who is a comedian obsessed with a talk-show host.
  • Zazie Beetz, a "huge fan" of Joaquin Phoenix, said that it was "an honor" to work with him, and that she learned a lot working with him on set.
  • By September 2017, Warner Bros. was considering casting Leonardo DiCaprio as the Joker, hoping to use his frequent collaborator Martin Scorsese's involvement to lure him, but by February 2018, Joaquin Phoenix was Todd Phillips' top choice for the role. Padraig Cotter of Screen Rant noted that since the film was a standalone story, Phoenix would not have to appear in sequels as he would have in the Marvel offer. Phoenix said when he learned of the film, he became excited because it was the kind of film he was looking to make, describing it as unique and stating it did not feel like a typical "studio movie". However, it took Phoenix some time to commit to the role, as it intimidated him and he said "oftentimes, in these movies, we have these simplified, reductive archetypes, and that allows for the audience to be distant from the character, just like we would do in real life, where it's easy to label somebody as evil, and therefore say, 'Well, I'm not that.'"
  • According to Todd Phillips about writing the script: "It was a yearlong process from when we finished the script just to get the new people on board with this vision, because I pitched it to an entirely different team than made it. There were emails about: 'You realize we sell Joker pajamas at Target.' There were a zillion hurdles, and you just sort of had to navigate those one at a time. At the time, I would curse them in my head every day. But then I have to put it in perspective and go, 'They're pretty bold that they did this.'
  • Todd Phillips and Scott Silver wrote Joker throughout 2017, and the writing process took about a year. According to producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff, it took some time to get approval for the script from Warner Bros., partly because of concerns over the content. Similarly, Phillips commented that there were "a zillion hurdles" during the year-long writing process due to the visibility of the character. Phillips said that while the script's themes may reflect modern society, the film was not intended to be political.
  • Todd Phillips and Scott Silver TY found the most common Joker origin story, in which the character is disfigured after falling into a vat of chemicals, too unrealistic. Instead, they used certain elements of the Joker lore to produce an original story, which Phillips wanted to feel as authentic as possible. Because the Joker does not have a definitive origin story in the comics, Phillips and Silver were given considerable creative freedom to steal a script that was sent to WB and "pushed each other every day to come up with something totally insane." The two stole a script sent to them written with Phoenix in mind: "The goal was never to introduce Joaquin Phoenix into the comic book movie universe. The goal was to introduce comic book movies into the Phoenix universe."
  • Following the disappointing critical and financial performance of Justice League (2017), in January 2018 Walter Hamada replaced Jon Berg as the head of DC-based film production at Warner Bros. Hamada sorted through the various DC films in development, canceling some while advancing work on others; Joker was expected to begin filming in late 2018 with a small budget. By June, Robert De Niro was under consideration for a supporting role in the film. The deal with Joaquin Phoenix was finalized in July 2018, after four months of persuasion from Todd Phillips. Immediately afterwards, Warner Bros. officially green-lit the film, titled it Joker, and gave it an October 4, 2019, release date. Warner Bros. described the film as "an exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale".
  • Principal photography commenced on September 10, 2018 in New York City, under the working title Romero.
  • On September 22 2018, a scene depicting a violent protest took place in Brooklyn, although the station was modified to look like Bedford Park Blvd. In late September 2018, filming of robbery scenes took place at the First Central Savings Bank in Astoria, Queens. According to Zazie Beetz, Todd Phillips rewrote the entire script during production; because Joaquin Phoenix lost so much weight for the film, there would not be an opportunity for reshoots. She recalled: "we would go into Todd's trailer and write the scene for the night and then do it. During hair and makeup we'd memorize those lines and then do them and then we'd reshoot that three weeks later."
  • Production moved to New Jersey afterward. Filming in Jersey City started on September 30 and shut down Newark Avenue, while filming in November (starting on November 9) shut down Kennedy Boulevard. Filming in Newark began on October 13 and lasted until October 16. Shortly before filming in Newark began, SAG-AFTRA received a complaint that extras were locked in subway cars for more than three hours during filming in Brooklyn, a break violation. However, the issue was quickly resolved after a representative visited the set. That month, Dante Pereira-Olson and Douglas Hodge joined the cast. Whigham said towards the end of October the film was in "the middle" of production, adding that it was an "intense" and "incredible" experience. By mid-November, filming had moved back to New York. Filming wrapped on December 3, 2018, with Todd Phillips posting a picture on his Instagram feed later in the month to commemorate the occasion.
  • Todd Phillips confirmed he was in the process of editing Joker in March 2019. At CinemaCon the following month, he stated the film was "still taking shape" and said it was difficult to discuss, as he hoped to maintain secrecy. Phillips also stated that most reports surrounding the film were inaccurate, which he felt was because it is "an origin story about a character that doesn't have a definitive origin". Brian Tyree Henry was also confirmed to have a role in the film. The visual effects were provided by Scanline VFX and Shade VFX and supervised by Matthew Giampa and Bryan Godwin, with Erwin Rivera serving as the overall supervisor.
  • In August 2018, Hildur Guðnadóttir was hired to compose the film's score. Guðnadóttir began writing music after reading the script and met with Todd Phillips, who "had a lot of strong ideas" about how he thought the score should sound. She worked on the Joker score alongside the score for the drama miniseries Chernobyl (2019); Guðnadóttir said switching between the two was challenging because the scores were so different.
  • The film's final budget was $55 million, considered by The Hollywood Reporter "a fraction" of the typical budget for a comic book-based film.
  • Todd Phillips compares the film to The Dark Knight (2008).
  • The first film for the DC Black label.
  • Director Todd Phillips had to convince the movie studio to keep the R rating for the movie when they became concerned about some of the footage they saw as being too violent.
  • Joaquin Phoenix is the first Puerto-Rican actor to portray the Joker on film.
  • Todd Phillips won the Venice film festival's prize, the Golden Lion, for Best Film. During his acceptance speech, Phillips thanked "Warner Bros. and DC for stepping out of their comfort zone and taking such a bold swing on me and this movie," according to The Hollywood Reporter. Phillips also thanked Joaquin Phoenix, who joined him on stage. "There is no movie without Joaquin Phoenix. Joaquin is the fiercest and brightest and most open-minded lion I know. Thank you for trusting me with your insane talent," said Phillips.
  • Zazie Beetz was asked by Variety at TIFF about whether or not the movie sympathizes with Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck, a struggling stand-up comedian and clown for hire whose psychological unraveling leads him to become the notorious Batman villain. Beetz doesn't deny that "Joker" has a sympathetic viewpoint, but she argued that it's less towards Arthur/Joker and more towards Arthur's predicament on a broader scale. "It's kind of an empathy toward isolation," Beetz said, "and an empathy towards what is our duty as a society to address people who slip through the cracks in a way. There is a lot of culture of that right now. So is it empathy for that or just an observation on personalities who struggle?"
  • Joaquin Phoenix was cagey during interviews at the Venice Film Festival when asked about siding with Arthur. Phoenix told press that any questions they might have about "Joker" will be left up to the audience to decide. "The great joy of the film for the audience is that they get to decide for themselves [what to think about Arthur's transformation]," Phoenix said. "That's what I was attracted to. In most movies, certainly in genre movies where there is a hero and the villain, the motivations of the character are clear. What I like about this is that I was never certain what was motivating him. I have my own opinion. I think I know what it is for me. But I wouldn't want to impose on anyone who hasn't seen the movie."
  • In September 2019, director and co-writer Todd Phillips said he wants comic book movie fans to know that there is no chance of Joaquin Phoenix's villain and Robert Pattinson's Batman ever crossing over on the big screen. He added that doesn't mean Pattinson won't ever possibly face off against Joker, it just won't be his version.
  • According to Todd Phillips on New York Times, Joaquin Phoenix "lost his composure on the set, sometimes to the bafflement of his co-stars." "In the middle of the scene, he'll just walk away and walk out," Phillips said. "And the poor other actor thinks it's them and it was never them - it was always him, and he just wasn't feeling it." Phoenix might have walked off set, but he always returned after taking a breather. Phillips remembered Phoenix reassuring him after an especially tense moment, "We'll take a walk and we'll come back and we'll do it." One person Phoenix never walked out on was Robert De Niro, De Niro told The Times that Phoenix was a "consummate professional" when they were on set together. "Joaquin was very intense in what he was doing, as it should be, as he should be," De Niro said. "There's nothing to talk about, personally, on the side, 'Let's have coffee.' Let's just do the stuff."
  • Although this is Robert De Niro's first comic book movie, he was considered for the role of The Riddler in Batman Forever (1995).
  • Became the first film by a major studio to win the golden lion(Venice film festival's highest prize) as well as being the first comic book movie to be shown in a major film festival.
  • This version of Joker exists separately from DCEU movies like Wonder Woman (2017), Aquaman (2018), and Justice League (2017)--a fact Justice League (2017) has been clear about. But at the Toronto International Film Festival recently, the director also insisted that Joaquin Phoenix's Joker and the upcoming new iteration of Batman played by Robert Pattinson in The Batman (2021) will not collide. "I don't see [Joker] connecting to anything in the future," Phillips said. "This is just a movie."
  • Joaquin Phoenix walked out of an interview when asked to respond to concerns about onscreen violence in his new film, "Joker," which tells the origin story of the DC comic book villain. For an article, Telegraph film critic Robbie Collin sat down with the actor and asked whether he worries the new film "might perversely end up inspiring exactly the kind of people it's about, with potentially tragic results." Phoenix balked at the question. "Why? Why would you ... ? No, no," he stammered before abruptly getting up and leaving the room. An hour later, after negotiating with a Warner Bros agent, Phoenix returned to finish the interview, explaining that he panicked because he hadn't yet considered the question. Throughout the rest of the article, Phoenix does not provide an answer.
  • In a recent interview with SFX magazine, Joaquin Phoenix acknowledged that while the violence in "Joker" is "a little more visceral and raw" than films such as the Avengers series, he "didn't have any hesitation about it." "You always want it to feel real, and you want the little violence that we have to have an impact," he said. "What happens in a lot of movies is that you get numb to it, you're killing 40,000 people, you don't feel it. While being a fictional story in a fictional world, you always want it to feel real. Everything that happens in this movie as far as violence goes, you feel it."
  • In an interview, Joaquin Phoenix discussed Batman and whether or not his version of the Joker would be enthused to meet him. "I hadn't thought about that. I feel under pressure. I want to give you a great answer, something that's fun. You have a lot of energy, you seem excited, I want to reciprocate that. But I don't know what his reaction will be. I imagine that he would feel a surge of excitement."
  • Joaquin Phoenix called perfecting the Joker's laugh the toughest part of playing the character.
  • Joaquin Phoenix was in Parenthood (1989) thirty years earlier alongside Dianne Wiest, who was in the movie The Lost Boys (1987) directed by Joel Schumacher, who also directed Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997).
  • The second DC movie featuring the Joker to be R rated after Batman: The Killing Joke (2016).
  • Batman: The Killing Joke (2016), who has a rather well-documented dislike of comic book movies, said he agreed to take part in the film because getting a chance to work with Robert De Niro and Joaquin Phoenix was too big an opportunity to pass up.
  • The teaser trailer uses a cover of "Smile", Charles Chaplin's original composition from Modern Times (1936). To double down on it, Arthur Fleck is even shown being thrown out of a cinema that's advertising a showing of that very film.
  • Wall markings of the Amusement Mile, Gotham City's old amusement park in the comics, can be seen in the first set stills. As well as graffiti referencing the Mad Hatter.
  • Fans weren't expecting Todd Phillips, who directed The Hangover trilogy, to direct a DC film. This hasn't been the first time he'd direct against type, though as he directed War Dogs (2016).
  • Warner Brothers were initially hesitant in making this film as it was thought to be too dark and violent. They were concerned that it may tarnish Joker for kids who annually buy millions of toys and related merchandise. However, a year later and after some convincing from Todd Phillips, they finally agreed to go ahead with this project. A violent R rated DC comic book film adaptation is nothing new to Warner Brothers who spent a considerable amount on V for Vendetta (2005) and Watchmen (2009) with the latter costing more than $130m, more than double that of the Joker.
  • The story takes places in 1981, which is the same year Robert De Niro won an Academy Award for his role as Jake La Motta in Raging Bull (1980).
  • Joaquin Phoenix revealed that Ray Bolger heavily influenced the Joker's quirky dance moves in the movie. "There was a particular song called 'The Old Soft Shoe' that he performed and I saw a video of it and there's this odd arrogance almost to his movements and, really, I completely just stole it from him," the star explains. "He does this thing of turning his chin up. This choreographer, Michael Arnold, showed me that and tons of videos and I zeroed in on that one. 'That was Joker, right?' There's an arrogance to him, really. That was probably the greatest influence. But also disco."
  • While Joaquin Phoenix's performance is largely applauded, the film in itself has been criticized for its dark content and sympathetic tone towards the villain. Especially considering the shooting that took place in Aurora, Colorado during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises (2012). However, Warner Bros. tells critics, "Make no mistake: neither the fictional character Joker, nor the film, is an endorsement of real-world violence of any kind. It is not the intention of the film, the filmmakers or the studio to hold this character up as a hero."
  • Joaquin Phoenix said about the 52 lb weight loss: "Once you reach the target weight, everything changes. Like so much of what's difficult is waking up every day and being obsessed over like 0.3 pounds. Right? And you really develop like a disorder. I mean, it's wild. But I think the interesting thing for me is what I had expected and anticipated with the weight loss was these feelings of dissatisfaction, hunger, a certain kind of vulnerability and a weakness. But what I didn't anticipate was this feeling of kind of fluidity that I felt physically. I felt like I could move my body in ways that I hadn't been able to before. And I think that really lent itself to some of the physical movement that started to emerge as an important part of the character."
  • Jason Momoa, most famous for playing Arthur Curry/Aquaman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Justice League (2017) and Aquaman (2018), attended the premiere wearing a purple suit. In the original DC Comics Joker is always wearing a purple suit.
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2003) aired a clip of Joaquin Phoenix insulting cinematographer Lawrence Sher between takes. The actor struggled to get through a scene when he got distracted by the cinematographer whispering and joked that his surname sounds like the singer Cher.
  • In India, the film was released early on October 2nd, International Day of Non-Violence, making it ironic, because it was labelled "too violent and disturbing". This public holiday in India is Mahatama Gandhi's birthday anniversary on 2nd October. Highly anticipated movies are often released on public holidays to get a good opening.
  • When Arthur is watching footage of Murray Franklin's show, Murray's guest is named Ethan. This was the name of Zach Galifianakis' character in Due Date (2010), which was also directed by Todd Phillips. By perhaps no coincidence, the character in Due Date (2010) was also an actor.
  • The actor named Ethan Chase, who guests on the Murray Franklin show, is a reference to Zach Galifianakis' character in Todd Phillips' film Due Date (2010).
  • It has been speculated that Joker was inspired by John Wayne Gacy or Pogo the Clown. In the movie, Arthur does stand up at a comedy club called "Pogo's" and director, Todd Phillips, had John Wayne Gacy do the artwork for the promotional posters of his GG Allin documentary, for which he received a special thanks in the credits.
  • Fans believed that Joaquin Phoenix was, in fact, following extreme medical advice and eating just an apple a day in order to keep losing the weight, but he says that's not true. "It wasn't an apple a day," he said. "No, you've also got lettuce and steamed green beans." Such a vast reduction in his daily calorie intake meant that Phoenix was able to drop 28kg, all the while resisting temptation in the form of Joker director Todd Phillips. "Todd did have these fucking pretzels that I love," he said. "And he'd just have bags of them in his office! And that was difficult."
  • A group of extras reported that they were locked in a subway car for hours against union rules, and all their attempts to bring this up were ignored until some of them even had to urinate on each other. SAG stepped in upon hearing about the situation to closely monitor the production.
  • While the film draws many parallels to Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976), the most blatant outside of the Robert De Niro casting is the iconic gun to the head hand gesture. This gesture is one of the most famous images to come from De Niro's Travis Bickle character, and is conducted in this film on various occasions by both Joaquin Phoenix and Zazie Beetz's characters.
  • Arthur Fleck performs stand up at 'Pogo's Comedy Club' in Gotham. Pogo the Clown was the stage name of real life professional clown and serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
  • Fans believed that Phoenix was, in fact, following extreme medical advice and eating just an apple a day in order to keep losing the weight, but he says that's not true. "It wasn't an apple a day," he said. "No, you've also got lettuce and steamed green beans." Such a vast reduction in his daily calorie intake meant that Phoenix was able to drop 52 pounds, all the while resisting temptation in the form of Joker director Todd Phillips. "Todd did have these f**king pretzels that I love," he said. "And he'd just have bags of them in his office! And that was difficult."
  • By sheer coincidence Joaquin Phoenix becomes the first actor portraying Joker with a real scar on his mouth, albeit not at the corners, as the Joker's are usually depicted.
  • Zazie Beetz also stars in Lucy in the Sky (2019), released the same day as this film.
  • Although not directly stated, the film is set in the early to mid 1980s. Several things give this away e.g. black and white television sets were still common and every television seen whether color or B&W is CRT not flat screen. Arthur uses a VCR (prohibitively expensive until the early 1980s). Vehicles used throughout the movie are common for the era. The parallels between Gotham and the crime problems in new York around that era (including the NY subway vigilante shootings by Bernhard Goetz in 1984). The use of payphones. Murray's attire. Brian De Palma's Blow Out showing in a cinema. Bruce Wayne's apparent age and the use of the Warner Brothers logo of the era at the beginning of the film.
  • The DC comics logo does not appear in this film until after the end credits.
  • Director Todd Phillips was born in 1970 in New York City and wanted to invoke the feel and look of his childhood memories of the city when making this film. Although the film is set in the fictional Gotham City, there are many parallels between Gotham and NY in this film. Unemployment, crime and even the subway vigilante shootings by Bernhard Goetz in 1984 were all a direct influence on the story in this film. New York set films that were an influence on the visual style and aesthetic of this film include The French Connection (1971), Death Wish (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), The Warriors (1979) and The King of Comedy (1982). Robert De Niro, who plays the role of Murray Franklin in this film was the star of Taxi Driver (1976) and The King of Comedy (1982).
  • In a deliberate attempt to keep the budget down there are almost no CGI effects shots in this film. One of the very few is the scene where Arthur Fleck walks towards the building named Arkham Asylum in his attempt to look at his mothers medical records. This scene was CGI enhanced but otherwise most of this films effects were either practical or created in camera.
  • Originally Warner Brothers wanted Martin Scorsese to make this film with Leonardo DiCaprio as Arthur and Robert De Niro to play Murray Franklin. However in the end this proved to be logistically impossible as DiCaprio had already signed on to do Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019) for Quentin Tarantino which was due to start filming at the same time. Scorsese had also committed himself to another project, The Irishman (2019), which also starred De Niro. However De Niro himself had just finished filming his scenes for that film by the time Joker went into production so was able to commit himself to doing this film too.
  • When Arthur/Joker walks onto The Murray Franklin Show, he kisses the other guest, an elderly female sex therapist. This is a reference to Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns", when Joker does the same thing (except his kiss kills the sex therapist).
  • Although he is not referred to by name anywhere in the films dialogue, the Englishman who confronts Arthur at the gates of Wayne Manor is Alfred Pennyworth, the trusted Butler and confidante of Bruce Wayne.
  • There's a pharmacy in the movie named Helms Pharmacy. Ed Helms starred as the character Stu in the The Hangover (2009) trilogy, which was also directed by Todd Phillips.
  • A week after the film's release, Joaquin Phoenix secretly attended a Saturday screening at a movie house in the San Fernando Valley in which he surprised fans after the film was over. Phoenix ended up answering questions about the film, posing with fans, and shaking hands. He got a little stage fright when asked to do his tormented Joker laugh from the film.
  • The movie refers to Ethan Chase, a character in Due Date (2010), played Zach Galifianakis. Galifianakis later portrayed The Joker.
  • The two films showing at the theater the Wayne family is shown exiting near the end are Blow Out (1981) and Zorro: The Gay Blade (1981). Both are real movies that were released on back-to-back weekends in July 1981. Zorro, of course, is traditionally the movie that the Wayne family is supposed to have seen on the fateful night of Batman's origin story.
  • Joaquin Phoenix said he took the role of the Joker "because I wasn't sure how I felt about him. When I have all the answers, I get bored. This one really kept me guessing."
  • Joaquin Phoenix and Robert De Niro had a clash during the earliest stage of filming. De Niro follows traditional rite of script read-through, a process that Phoenix dislikes. De Niro insisted that they did, and Phoenix half-heartedly accepted, mumbling through the entire read-through. They reportedly settled their differences immediately, but on set they hardly ever spoke to each other outside of filming. They maintained that their disagreement are strictly professional, however, and Phoenix went on to say that De Niro is his favorite actor.
  • According to a report from Hollywood Reporter Jared Leto, who played the Joker in Suicide Squad (2016) to mixed reception, was allegedly very alienated and upset by Joaquin Phoenix being the Joker and not him.
  • Murray Franklin and his show appear to be an amalgam, of Johnny Carson and Merv Griffin, along with the talk shows they hosted.. The surname Franklin was likely an homage to Joe Franklin, who hosted a legendary self titled local late night talk show which aired for several years in New York City.
  • The All News Radio Station and story format Arthur listens to at the beginning of the film was based on those of New York City Radio Station WINS.
  • At a point of the movie Arthur Fleck says "I used to think that my life was a tragedy, but now I realize, it's a comedy." It's a paraphrasing of Charles Chaplin's quote who once said: "Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot." Chaplin also makes an appearance in a viewing of 'Modern Times' for the elite of Gotham City whilst the city is blazing outside by riots.
  • At one point in the film, Joker looks out of a cop car and the camera focuses on his face while there is a bokeh present in the background. This is an homage to a similar shot in The Dark Knight (2008).
  • Arthur fires the gun and writes left-handed, but Joaquin Phoenix is right-handed. Actually, Arthur fleck writes right-handed for his general journal entries, but his mental breaks switch him to writing left-handed temporarily.
  • The actor portraying Bruce Wayne played young Joe (Joaquin Phoenix's character) in You Were Never Really Here (2017).
  • There is a sign on the street for Puerto Rico right before the scene of the street musician playing the piano. Joaquin Phoenix was born in Puerto Rico.
  • Joker's make-up is similar to the makeup of serial killer John Wayne Gacy who dressed as a clown called Pogo. The stand up comedy club, in which Arthur performs, is called Pogo's.
  • The address of the Joker's stairs is 1165 Shakespeare Ave, The Bronx, NY 10452, USA. After the theatrical release of the movie, the stairs turned into a tourist attraction.
  • In the scene where Arthur is in the audience of a comedy club, the performing comedian is Gary Gulman, who is a stand-up comic. The bit he performs about role-playing with his girlfriend can be heard on Gulman's 2012 album "No Can Defend."
  • This is the second time Frances Conroy plays a mother who has a son obsessed with a TV personality: the first was in How I Met Your Mother (2005), where she plays Barney Stinson's mother, who is, in turn, obsessed with Bob Barker of contest-show The Price Is Right (1972); the second is in "Joker", where her son Arthur is obsessed with Murray Franklin.
  • Zazie Beetz has also been in a Marvel Comic book movie. She played Domino in Deadpool 2 (2018).
  • During a scene where Arthur is studying the show, the guest on Murray's talk show is called 'Ethan Chase'- this is the same name as Zach Galifinakis' character in 'Due Date,' another Todd Phillips film. His character is also an aspiring actor.
  • While director Todd Phillips implies there are no major Easter eggs in the film, one particular major Easter egg can be found when Arthur is getting his make up done. When getting ready, the mirror in front of Arthur has two eyes shaped with a cowl like reflection staring right back at him if one looks closely. This can be easily be traced into Batman who will be his biggest obsession and his arch-enemy after his Joker persona is completed. For an interview in 2001 in terms of writing The Killing Joke, the graphic novel which was a major inspiration for Phillips in writing Joker, writer Alan Moore said Batman and the Joker are mirror images of each other.
  • Bryan Callen has acted in 4 movies directed by Todd Phillips. Old School (2003), The Hangover (2009), The Hangover Part II (2011), and Joker (2019).
  • In an interview in Vanity Fair, leading neurocriminologist Adrian Raine said he was stunned by how authentically the film depicted the psychology of the criminal mind. "For 42 years, I've studied the cause of crime and violence. And while watching this film, I thought - WOW, what a revelation this was. It is a great educational tool about the making of the murderer," he said. In the article, Raine went on to diagnose the character of Arthur Fleck with schizotypal personality disorder. "Those who suffer from it have bizarre beliefs, odd behavior, odd appearance, odd speech, no close friends other than family members, and emotional-affect issues - either being completely shut down or way over the top," Raine said. He now uses the film as part of a course he teaches at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • All the analogue clocks on display throughout the movie display the time 1:50. This is a time used by clock and watch advertisers as the hands are displayed in a "Smile".
  • The stunt driver who drove the ambulance into the police car towards the end of the film, Josh Lakatos, is also an Olympic Silver Medalist from the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
  • Before filming, director Todd Phillips said that Joker's laughter should be almost painful. Joaquin Phoenix practiced many different kinds of laughter and "played" them for the director at his own request. The end result is a catchy as well as disturbing laugh.
  • There are at least 3 different types of "laughter", the joker: the "frail" laughter, the "one of the types" laughter and the "authentic joy" laughter at the end This is supposed to show a development, from the "normal" citizen to the insane criminal already known from the Batman films. At the same time, the development of the Joker should also be understandable in a certain sense.
  • The role of Arthur Fleck, aka Joker, was realized taking into account the acting characteristics of Joaquin Phoenix. Phoenix received the script at the end of 2017. Even his mother had a say in deciding whether to join the big project or not. In retrospect, the decision was the right one for the role.
  • Joaquin Phoenix said he did not refer to earlier interpretations of The Joker in developing his role. He wanted to create something of his own. He explained his decision at the Venice Film Festival press conference: "It was just something that felt like our creation, and that was really important to me."
  • The movie "Joker" was inspired by one of the most famous Batman comics. The plot of the film, which follows a failed stand-up comedian, came from the famous graphic novella / comic "Batman: The Killing Joke".
  • Arthur's clown make-up was intentionally "antique" - his lips were made reddish brown to resemble blood. Nicki Ledermann, head of make-up, says, "Even his wry smile is a metaphor for not everything being perfect. Maybe it's funny - maybe it's not that." Here should be deliberately left room for your own thoughts.
  • The script was often changed just before filming began, and the actors had to adjust the dialogue of their characters and even improvise According to film director Todd Phillips, Zazie Beetz's character, Sophie, was always well planned when it came to writing or actually shooting. He complimented Beet and said she was fantastic and "never been enthusiastic about this kind of improvisation, but she was passionate about the changes, she helped with the dialogue for her character and it was a wonderful collaboration."
  • All clocks in the movie show the time as 11:11.
  • The "super-rats" segment on Murray Franklin's show and in the news references Ratcatcher, an obscure D-list villain who could mind control rats. The character is set to appear in James Gunn's The Suicide Squad (2021).
  • Arthur takes a moment to enjoy a Charles Chaplin film. The Joker, in most continuities, is a fan of classic comedians, with Chaplin being one of his favorites.
  • Arthur uses a .38 Smith & Wesson Chief Special throughout the film. The same kind of gun was briefly used by Caesar Romero's Joker in season 2 of the 1966 series.
  • Joaquin Phoenix is the third live-action Joker, whose name starts with a "J", after Jack Nicholson and Jared Leto.
  • Taking a page from Sergio Leone, writer-director Todd Phillips asked composer Hildur Guðnadóttir to write the score before filming, something unusual. This was in order to use the music to set the mood on set while shooting the scenes.
  • In the opening scene, Arthur sits at a mirror and pulls the sides of his lips down to make an exaggerated frown, then pulls them up to create a huge smile. Both of his faces are an absolutely perfect imitation of the theatrical masks of comedy and tragedy (even down to the tear falling from the right eye), themes that are crucial in Arthur's character. Arthur starts out as a heavy chainsmoker even for the era, growing even worse as Joker who is smoking constantly whenever not running from the cops or confronting victims.
  • In Beirut, Lebanon on Thursday, October 17, austerity measures were issued which outraged the citizens who demand that the government take responsibility for the country's ongoing financial crisis and corruption. This sparked massive protests. Inspired by this film and its main character, some demonstrators painted their faces in the same manner as Arthur Fleck's Joker make-up. It was even said that the film became a symbol of protest.
  • Since the film's release, fans had ventured to New York City to visit the site, where the now-iconic scene of Arthur Fleck/Joker dancing on the flight of stairs was filmed. It is located at West 167th Street, which connects Shakespearan and Anderson Avenues.
  • The film was released 30 years after Batman (1989), the second major theatrical film based on the Batman franchise after Batman (1966). All three movies prominently feature the Joker.
  • The use of "Rock and Roll Part 2" by Gary Glitter within this film caused controversy shortly after the film's release due to the perceived possibility that Glitter, a convicted sex offender, might collect royalties from the song's use in the film. This concern was unfounded, though, since Glitter had long since sold the rights to the song's use; the US rights, as of the film's release, are held by the Universal Music Publishing Group.
  • Since the film's release, the character of Arthur Fleck/Joker became a symbol of protest in countries such as Lebanon, Chile, Iraq, and China for government corruption protests.
  • Joaquin Phoenix was Darren Aronofsky's choice to play Bruce Wayne/Batman in the Batman film he attempted to make in the early 2000s.
  • Todd Phillips said in interview that first cut of the film was 155 minutes long, and how there were multiple different cuts of it. There are several promotional stills which show deleted scenes, and there are some more which are glimpsed in all the trailers.
  • The taxi that hits Arthur was a 1982 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale.
  • The ambulance that hits the cop car was a 1975 Dodge Coronet.
  • Pseudobulbar affect is a condition that is characterized by an involuntary and uncontrollable reaction of laughter or crying that's disproportionate to an event.
  • Joaquin Phoenix's Joker makeup took 15 to 20 minutes to apply.
  • Arthur Fleck (aka The Joker) can also be written as A. Fleck. Ben Affleck played Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League.
  • This film is the second R rated comic book-related film released in 2019. The first film is Hellboy (2019).
  • The film's $96 million opening weekend has beaten It Chapter Two (2019)'s $92 million weekend debut for the best opening weekend for an R rated movie in 2019. Both films are also distributed by Warner Brothers.
  • A page in Arthur's journal, shows a drawing of a cat/woman hybrid using a ball of yarn as a whip a reference to Selina Kyle aka Catwoman.
  • In the final scene, Arthur was being evaluated by an African-American female doctor at Arkham, who could be a nod to the Batman: The Animated Series character Dr. Joan Leland, another African-American female doctor at Arkham who was also notably responsible for bringing in Dr. Harleen Quinzel in the series finale episode "Mad Love" adapted from an Eisner Award-winning one-shot special-issue graphic novel of the show's tie-in comic The Batman Adventures, which leads to Harleen to first meet and fall in love with the Joker and caused her to become Harley Quinn.
  • This is not the first time the Joker's real name was said to be "Arthur". In issue #5 of his short-lived ongoing in the '70s, he posed as the long-lost great-grandson of a famous painter, who was named Arthur Wilde, claiming to his henchmen that it wasn't just a scam and that he really was Arthur Wilde. (At the end of the issue he confesses that he lied)
  • This film marks the second time that the character of The Joker has another name besides "The Joker" moniker. In Batman (1989), The Joker's real name is Jack Napier. In this film, The Joker's real name is Arthur Fleck. This shows that the character has many possible identities due to his mysterious past from the comics.
  • The font used for the "Live with Murray Franklin" show title is the same font used for Batman: The Animated Series (1992). It's called Andes.
  • Gotham's car police serial number where Arthur is being transferred to the police station after Murray Franklin's killing is 9189. Exchanging the two first numbers it obtains "1989", when Batman (1989) was released.
  • Todd Phillips originally wanted to shoot the film on 70 mm film cameras but had to abandon the idea due to the tight production budget. He ruled out standard RED digital cameras and 35mm film cameras too due to the number of close up shots planned, and to give the film an 'intimate', obtrusive feel. Phillips insistence on using large format cameras led Cinematographer Lawrence Sher to investigate using Arri Alexa 65 digital cameras as a compromise and in the end this is what was eventually used.
  • In the German version of the movie, all of Arthur's diary entries and his card explaining his illness are in German. This is rather unusual for a live-action film since it required producing extra props, and subsequently shooting them.
  • Arthur Fleck lives in apartment number 8J. Joker (2019) is the eighth film to prominently feature the character of the Joker. Batman (1966), Batman (1989), Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993), The Dark Knight (2008), Batman: The Killing Joke (2016), Suicide Squad (2016), The Lego Batman Movie (2017) and Joker (2019).
  • The first R rated movie in history to make $1 billion dollars.
  • Joaquin Phoenix originally only signed on to do this one standalone film, as he did not want to be involved in a movie franchise. However such has the critical feedback it's popularity with audiences been, he has subsequently said (as of November 2019) he is not averse to the idea of considering doing a second film providing he is not expected to join the DCEU and any sequel has a similar feel and look like the first film.
  • After the film had reached $1 billion worldwide, director Todd Phillips thanked the fans for supporting the film on his Instagram account. Phillips created a 20-second video of various clips from the film with quotes from fans on Twitter in the style of a movie ad with quotes from critics.
  • The film's US release date happened to coincide with World Smile Day (October 4, 2019).
  • First R-rated movie to make 1 billion $.
  • By the sixth week of its release, the film's $1.018 billion worldwide box office earnings had beaten The Dark Knight (2008)'s $1.008 billion worldwide box office record.
  • The film stayed on the top of the U.K.'s box office for 6 consecutive weeks which became the first film since Avatar (2009) to do so.
  • Director Todd Phillips stands to earn up to one hundred million dollars from this film due to his participation deal as the movie has now, as of November 2019, reached a worldwide box office cume of over one billion dollars.
  • Martin Scorsese was originally going to be a producer but dropped out because of his crowded schedule.
  • Director Trademark: [popular songs from whatever era that movie takes place in being played throughout] The film has several scenes of songs from the 1970s and early 1980s being played which showcases the era of the film, as in The Hangover (2009) and The Hangover Part II (2011).
  • While being honored for his acting career and for this film at a film ceremony, Joaquin Phoenix stated in his speech that he owes his career to his late brother and fellow actor, River Phoenix. He stated that his brother came home one day from work with a copy of the film, Raging Bull (1980), which starred Robert De Niro, who will eventually become his future co-star in this film. Joaquin goes on to state that he was in his teens at the time and he had quit acting. River had him watch the film that evening and the next day. He stated that River encouraged him to not give up on acting.
  • Actress Jessica Chastain praised the film and Joaquin Phoenix's performance. Chastain was agreeing with Vincent D'Onofrio on Twitter when D'Onofrio championed Phoenix for major award recognition. He tweeted, "This young man deserves recognition for this performance." She tweeted back, "I agree. It's one of the greatest pieces of acting that I've ever seen. Mouth was dropped open in the theatre as it played. It left me shook."
  • Sharp-eyed New York City lovers will recognize the Brooklyn Army Terminal's annex at Arkham State Hospital. The hospital is a recurring touchpoint for Arthur Fleck. Early conversations with his state-provided social worker indicate that he spent time in Arkham State Hospital for undisclosed misdeeds before the film began, and his mother's records there indicate that both members of the Fleck family have drifted in and out of the grim state-run facility.
  • Most of Arthur Fleck's onscreen clothes are deliberately unremarkable and functional, but his one suit comes out in pieces and parts throughout the early parts of the film. For example, Arthur Fleck wears a rust vest and jacket on his "date" with a friendly neighbor. The palette is outdated, more 70s than the 1981 colors in most of the film's clothes, fitting in with the concept of a character too poor to buy good clothes frequently. In the film's final scenes, Arther Fleck dons all of his brightest colors at once for his big night on the Murray Franklin show. The outfit, though loud, looks so natural in part because Fleck has worn most of its pieces onscreen over time.
  • Arthur fantasizes about being an audience member of the Murray Franklin show and having an intimate fan-hero interaction with him. The audience is only subtly clued in that it's a fantasy and not a memory of Arthur actually being on the show some time in the past when he's revealed to be sitting on his mother's bed still watching the TV, with the fantasy ending as the show ends. Later on, after much flirtation, dating, and physical intimacy between Arthur and Sophie without obvious indication to the audience that it isn't real, it too turns out to be fantasy when Sophie reveals to the audience that she's not familiar with him and only barely knows his name. When Arthur doesn't respond in shock, indicating that he himself never truly believed they were together, that's when we finally know that it had actually only been Arthur fantasizing about her all along.
  • The rich are shown watching Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, a classic film to highlight how "cultured" they are to contrast the lower class rioters. Modern Times however, is entirely about the struggles of the poor and unemployed, with the elite in that film depicted with some scorn.
  • Jackson C. Frank's soulful folk song, "My Name is Carnival", features in the soundtrack and is discussed in dialogue.
  • Arthur's utterly horrific knock-knock joke, has a very similar "punchline" to "Surprise! Your wife's dead and the baby's a spastic!"
  • Arthur's final Joker getup (slightly curly green hair, pointy smile makeup, green shirt collar and maroon suit) owes more to the Cesar Romero version than the usual bright-purple-and-orange comic book ensemble. Whether this is intentional or just outdoor lighting making red seem colder is unclear.
  • On Penny Fleck's psychiatry files from Arkham, it mentions her former doctor was Benjamin Stoner. In the comics, Stoner was one of the head doctors at Arkham Asylum who became an opponent of Doctor Fate known as Anti-Fate after being possessed by a Lord of Chaos.
  • Arthur's laughing fits often leave him struggling to breathe, similar to how Joker's laughing gas works.
  • This is not the first time the Joker's real name was said to be "Arthur". In issue #5 of his short-lived ongoing in the '70s, he posed as the long-lost great-grandson of a famous painter, who was named Arthur Wilde, claiming to his henchmen that it wasn't just a scam and that he really was Arthur Wilde. (At the end of the issue he confesses that he lied)
  • One could compare Arthur's story to the message in To Kill a Mockingbird if you think about it. It's a sin to kill a mockingbird because they don't do anything to harm people, all they want to do is sing their songs to the world, so why harm them. All Arthur wanted to do was spread joy and make others laugh yet people made fun of him, broke him down and hurt him just because they have failed to understand his intentions. He is truly a broken mockingbird who has been shot at way too many times and his last attempt at trying to sing to the world (become a stand-up comedian on TV) ended up as yet another attempt from a human who he trusted to trap him in a cage and throw rocks at him (Murray making fun of him), until that mockingbird finally got tired of it. Also, just like a mockingbird, Arthur wanted to be a clown, but not a literal clown in that he's to be shunned and put down because of it, but as one who just wants to make others laugh in a good-natured way. A mockingbird is call a mockingbird not because it's a pathetic and silly bird that you point and mock at for fun, but because they can mimic other animals and fool them before attacking them. As the Joker, Arthur had became that mockingbird in which he will no longer tolerate being shot at and literally mocked at, but one who gets his name and respect from being an aggressive one and asserting his dominance from diving down and attacking those who have tried to harm him. Bring in the clowns AND the mockingbirds.
  • In the beginning of the film, the news and Murray report on the recent outbreak of "Super Rats", once ordinary rodents that have grown larger, more dangerous and harder to kill due to the increased littering and deteriorating condition of Gotham, which could serve as a parallel to Arthur himself. He starts the film as another poor, scrounging face in the crowd looked down on by the rest of the world around him, but because of society's mistreatment Arthur evolves into the Joker. He becomes more dangerous, harder to kill and inspires a city-wide movement that makes him much larger than the nobody he was before. The brief appearances of Super Rats in the film could support this. One scurries past the payphone when Arthur is fired for bringing the gun to the hospital, which is immediately followed by him killing the three Wayne employees on the subway and the beginning of his journey to becoming the Joker. In the ending, some Super Rats are shown scurrying away from Bruce as he stands over his parents' bodies, possibly symbolising the threat that Bruce will eventually pose to Joker and the rest of Gotham's criminals. We also hear Murray sarcastically mocking one of the proposed solutions to the super rats on his show: super cats. The rats are created by the trash and by Gotham's decay and get hunted by the cats; supervillains like Joker get created by Gotham's decay and get hunted by superheroes like the Bat Family. Neither solution solves the underlying problem of why the rats are flourishing in the city.
  • Throughout the movie, there are signs that the entire story is all in Joker's head. Things that don't make sense like how Bruce is always serious and sullen like Batman, Bruce's playhouse being so far from the house and a short distance from an easily scalable wall, or why the Waynes were seeing Zorro, The Gay Blade. *The first sign that Arthur and Sophie's relationship isn't real is when Sophie first shows up to his apartment after learning he has been stalking her and is surprisingly calm when Arthur admits to it. No woman, let alone a single mother, would react to that bombshell with such good humor. **Notice also how Sophie never interacts with another person when she's with Arthur, and rarely seems to make eye contact with Arthur himself.
  • It's surprisingly fitting for the Joker to be played by an actor with the surname Phoenix, a bird that rises from the ashes, considering the character's reputation for Joker immunity in past incarnations.
  • The gang who accost Arthur while he's working his sign say something like, "If you're gonna be a clown, you could at least not be a fucking terrible clown". It is a very cruel thing to say to someone who was just minding his own business (and honestly putting on a bit of a show). But it also suits exactly what he turns into later into the film.
  • "You get what you f*cking deserve," can also be applied to the city itself. In the upcoming years, it will be filled with more violence, corruption and crime that threaten it's citizens -rich and poor- until decades later they will finally get a Hope Bringer in the form of the spread wings of a bat, shining in the clouds.
  • The theater marquee behind Arthur while he's spinning a sign displays the fictional movie "Strip Search". The logo used is an homage to the 1973 film "Fleshpot on 42nd Street", which uses the same bowtie design on its posters.
  • As the first R rated movie to earn $1 billion worldwide, the film peaked on the 44th spot on the list of films that made $1 billion or more worldwide. The film had since rose up to the 35th spot.
  • By its ninth week, the film had surpassed Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) domestically with $330.6 million. The latter film ultimately earned $330.3 million domestically.
  • Joaquin Phoenix previously starred alongside Michael Caine in the film, Quills (2000). Both actors ended up playing Batman-related characters. Before Phoenix went on to portray Arthur Fleck/Joker in this film, Caine portrayed Alfred Pennyworth in Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), and The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
  • After the film's success, artist Joe Simko created a Garbage Pail Kid collection card dedicated to Joaquin Phoenix and his character, Arthur Fleck/Joker. The card shows a Garbage Pail Kid as an Arthur Fleck/Joker caricature falling down in a wacky manner on what is clearly the now-famous Joker steps with make-up items scattered around. The card is called, "Walking Joaquin".
  • This is the third film that has made over $1 billion worldwide without being released in China. The first two films are Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) and The Dark Knight (2008), respectively.
  • Due to the surprisingly huge success of the film, Warner Brothers vowed that they're going to make more R rated comic book films and take more risks.
  • This film is Warner Brothers' seventh film that has crossed over $1 billion worldwide. The other films are Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) with $1.34 billion, Aquaman (2018) with $1.148 billion, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) with $1.12 billion, The Dark Knight Rises (2012) with $1.08 billion, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) with $1.01 billion, and The Dark Knight (2008) with $1 billion, respectively. Though, the film is the first R rated film on the list and ever in history to achieve this.
  • One of three movies that were released theatrically in 2019 in which (despite the movies not being musicals) characters sing a song from a Stephen Sondheim musical. In Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story, the character played by Adam Driver sings "Being Alive", and the character played by Scarlett Johansson sings "You Could Drive a Person Crazy," both from Sondheim's 1970 musical Company. In Knives Out (2019), the character played by Daniel Craig sings part of "Losing My Mind" from Sondheim's 1971 musical "Follies." In Joker (2019), the bullies who attack Arthur (Joaquin Phoenix) in the subway sing "Send in The Clowns" from "A Little Night Music".
  • Weeks after the film made over $1 billion worldwide, the film was rated the best movie of 2019 by IMDb.
  • As Joker is being taken to the police station after appearing on the talk show, the music playing is White Room by Cream. It was written about a so-called "green room" that the band was sitting in before appearing on a British talk show. They were mildly stoned and nervous, which is reflected in the abstract nature of the lyrics. The title is based on the fact that whereas the typical ready-room for talk show guests is often painted green, that particular room was painted white.
  • In Frank Miller's comic book series / graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns, Joker appears on a night time talk show. The host of the show is a thinly disguised version of David Letterman. The guest was a thinly disguised version of Dr. Ruth ( Ruth Westheimer ), who was a frequent talk show guest of seventies and eighties. Letterman was informed about this and he read the relevant issue. For some weeks after the comic was published, Letterman made a number of nervously humorous references on air to the fate of the host of that fictional show.
  • The parallels between this and The King of Comedy (1982) are not only close, but ironic. In that film, Jerry Lewis - who was not well-suited for the role of an ersatz Johnny Carson - played the host and De Niro the decidedly unfunny comedian guest, Rupert Pupkin. In Joker, De Niro - who is far less engaging and compelling than Lewis was - played the host but his forced attempts at comedy were very much like those of Pupkin.
  • In one of the film's television segments of Murray Franklin's talk show, he introduces a guest named Ethan Chase. This is a direct reference to Todd Phillips's earlier film, Due Date (2010), in which Zach Galifianakis stars as an aspiring actor by the same name. Ironically, Galifianakis had previously voiced Joker in The Lego Batman Movie.
  • Thomas Wayne's statement regarding the subway shootings, "What kind of coward does something like that? A man who hides behind a mask?" is a thinly veiled allusion to the fact that his son will one day wear a mask as Batman.
  • This is just Taxi Driver; with the Joker character inserted for the hero/villain.
  • While Warner Bros. gave Christopher Nolan full backing for his version of Joker in The Dark Knight (2008), Todd Phillips had a much different experience making this film. As Phillips recently revealed during an interview with filmmaker Michael Moore, Warner Bros.' former boss was a major hurdle: "When the regime changed on the Warner side, the regime also changed on the DC side," Phillips told Moore. "They put a guy in charge at DC, Walter Hamada, who had been running a small horror label at New Line. So he didn't have muscle to stop it, and I'm not saying he would have, but he didn't get it. And because On paper, it's crazy. [He] just stepped into this new job, and 'we just made Shazam! and Wonder Woman. We're doing okay; do we really want to mess with the formula?' And so I really understood his point. But in some ways, I had enough weight behind me at that point - not overrule it, because they could have easily said no...but we just kept our foot on the gas, and the squeaky wheel gets the grease as you say. We just made a thing of it for a long time. Truth be told, the budget was so small - and I say so small in relation to other comic book films, not small. We ultimately made the movie for $60 million, but at Warner Bros. or at DC, that's like an independent film to them. So we kept it so under the radar and so small that in some way, it felt like...not a can't-lose, but like, 'okay what could we really lose on this if it's a disaster and nobody wants to see it if it's boring?' So they let us go and do it."
  • Based on the design of the Gotham City ambulance in the film. The back of the ambulance clearly features a red smile and two blue eyes that very much resemble the Joker. While some were quick to make the connection to Heath Ledger's Joker, his version didn't sport blue eye paint, but Joaquin Phoenix's Joker did.
  • Jared Leto was alienated and upset when hearing a new Joker movie was being made without him. He tried to cancel the movie, telling his agents you have to stop this.
  • The film has become the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time, unadjusted for inflation - having overtaken Deadpool 2 (which grossed $785 million) within its first month of release and grossing over $1 billion (which, to reiterate, makes it the first R-rated movie in history to do so). It also overtook the unadjusted global gross of The Dark Knight, which had the most successful modern live-action incarnation of the character up to this point. Due to these high returns and its modest budget, some analysts have suggested that Joker may be the most profitable movie based on comic books ever. This is remarkable especially due to the film not only being R rated, but also has never been released in the second largest movie market in the world, China.
  • Joker veteran Mark Hamill expressed his utmost praise for the film on Instagram. He writes, "The awesome Joaquin Phoenix, Todd Phillips and Scott Silver brilliantly reimagine the character as never seen before! 2 thumbs up from that old-school, comic book version... me."
  • DC Comics chief creative officer Jim Lee praised it as "intense, raw and soulful," and said that it remained true to the character despite deviating from the source material.
  • Director Michael Moore called it a "cinematic masterpiece" and said it was a "danger to society" if people did not see it.
  • Actor Josh Brolin states that he found the film powerful. He says, "To appreciate 'Joker', I believe you have to have either gone through something traumatic in your lifetime (and I believe most of us have) or understand somewhere in your psyche what true compassion is."
  • Directors Ana Lily Amirpour, Kelly Fremon Craig, and Alex Ross Perry are some unexpected fans of the film. Fremon Craig states, "You can feel Todd Phillips' passion for the project all over it, and who else but Joaquin Phoenix could've pulled off the role? That eerie choked laugh. I held my breath the whole runtime."
  • Director Guillermo del Toro states that he's a huge fan of the film.
  • During an interview, Todd Phillips launched into a tirade about his desire to do Joker and leaving comedy was because of "woke culture" dictating what comedy should be and the like. Mind you, this was before the movie dropped. The result lead to some mockery from the internet as a result of Phillip's tirade, especially considering his original foray in comedy. People immediately shut up however when the film ended up getting praise by moviegoers and ranking a billion at the box office, without China to boot! Some even believe Phillips intentionally caused discourse, knowing how prevalent the media was with slandering the movie and making accusations towards it. Deleted Scene: The scene of the leaked filming footage that showed Arthur interacting in the street with Randall, with only Randall dressed as a clown. Arthur takies Randall's clown nose and throwing it on the ground. The trailer also has shots such as Arthur walking down the hall of his apartment complex in the Joker make-up and outfit, while carrying the flower prop from an earlier scene, which don't appear in the final cut.
  • Cinematographer Lawrence Sher revealed that him and Todd Phillips wanted to shoot on 70mm film like The Hateful 8, Dunkirk and The Rise of Skywalker, partially because Phillips prefers film stock but Warner Bros. refused to let them so they had to shoot digital.
  • Joaquin Phoenix and Robert de Niro had a clash during the earliest stage of filming. De Niro follows traditional rite of script read-through, a process that Phoenix dislikes. De Niro insisted that they did, and Phoenix half-heartedly accepted, mumbling through the entire read-through. They reportedly settled their differences immediately, but on set they hardly ever spoke to each other outside of filming. They maintained that their disagreement are strictly professional, however, and Phoenix went on to say that De Niro is his favorite actor.
  • The movie's logotype was custom-made by graphic designer Chad Danieley using a wood type letterpress, then digitized. Usually, designers would create a unique logotype by distressing a regular digital font in Photoshop or Illustrator.
  • The script was going to have the song "Bennie and The Jets" in the movie but for some reason this was changed.
  • Martin Scorsese had hoped to direct the film for a few years, but ultimately declined as while he loved the whole idea of the Arthur Fleck character, his lifelong distaste for comic book movies meant he was never comfortable with how the movie would have to end with him becoming the Joker, and figured the comic fans deserved to have it be made by someone whose heart was in that ending.
  • A month after the film's release and days after the film officially made over $1 billion worldwide, there was a brief video of Joaquin Phoenix shooting a scene for the film that went viral. The video shows Phoenix, dressed as The Joker, beginning to dance down the stairs which is the now iconic dancing down the stairs scene. The video was filmed by an unknown person who lived in the Bronx.
  • The film had surpassed Venom (2018) ($854 million box office on a $90 million budget), Deadpool (2016) ($783 million box office on a $58 million budget), Batman (1989) ($411 million box office on a $35 million budget), The Mask (1994) ($351 million box office on a $23 million budget) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) ($200 million box office on a $13.5 million budget) as being the most profitable comic book film ever.
  • Martin Scorsese confirmed that, not only has he not seen the finished film, but he has no plans to. This is only in the latest chapter in the journey that launched last year in which Scorsese expressed that he wasn't interested in superhero movies, noting that he doesn't consider them "cinema." As many fans understandably thought it was hypocritical to dismiss all superhero movies while his name was attached to one, it was later confirmed that Warner Bros. merely needed Scorsese's filmmaking crew to pull off production in New York City. "I saw clips of it," Scorsese revealed to The New York Times. "I know it. So it's like, why do I need to? I get it. It's fine."
  • While doing press for his latest film, The Irishman, Scorsese was asked his thoughts on the growing trend of superhero cinema dominating the box office, noting that he had tried to enjoy them, but they ultimately weren't for him. "I don't see them. I tried, you know? But that's not cinema," Scorsese revealed to Empire Magazine about comic book films. "Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn't the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being." In the wake of these comments, a number of filmmakers weighed in on the matter, both supporting and chastising this opinion of the genre.
  • From the first looks of the film, it seemed clear that Scorsese had an influence over the picture, as the look and tone of the movie resembled his iconic films Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. Instead, The Hollywood Reporter noted that Emma Tillinger Koskoff handled most of the producing responsibilities on behalf of the filmmaker and were more representative of the production's resources than the artistic feel of the adventure.
  • Some rumors claimed that Scorsese was enlisted to entice Leonardo DiCaprio, who starred in Scorsese's The Departed, The Wolf of Wall Street, Gangs of New York, and more, to take on the titular role, though director Todd Phillips claimed that Joaquin Phoenix was his only choice for the part.
  • The brand of cigarettes that Arthur smokes is American Spirit.
  • This is the first live-action incarnation of the Joker smoking.
  • The subway cars that were used for the subway scenes are both from the BMT/IND and the IRT lines. For the riot scene, the train was consisting of R32. For the murders, the subway cars were made up of R33 Mainline subway cars. These R33ML's which were used for filming are part of the New York Transit Museum's "Train Of Many Colors"
  • It took Joaquin Phoenix a bit to find the version of the character he wanted to bring to the screen. That meant plenty of takes, especially early on, attempting to root out the core of the character, and ironically it really came to fruition with one scene that didn't even make it into the final cut of the movie. Phoenix was accepting Variety's Creative Impact in Directing Award during the Palm Springs Film Festival, and during his speech, he revealed what the scene was and how it really changed his take on the character. "He always encouraged me to fail, which I did a lot. A few weeks into shooting I think it became unbearable for him and we were shooting a scene, it was like the fourth take, and I said well that's about...I don't know what else I can do...that was all the ideas I have', and he said 'I think you should try another one'. I said 'okay', so I tried another one and basically just did some more bulls***, and he said 'I think you should try another one', and he wasn't specific because I think he knew that I had to find it on my own, and I just decided to stop all of my actory stuff and just to listen to the other actor and to just be aware of the space that I was in and we did this take and it felt really good, and he came out and said 'that was a good take'. I said 'yeah, it felt good to me'. He said 'what was that', and I said 'sincerity'. And he said 'well you should be sincere more often'" "It was a scene that was ultimately cut out of the movie but it ended up being kind of the most important scene in the movie because it helped me find sincerity," Phoenix said.
  • Joaquin Phoenix unexpectedly shedded a tear during the first take when his character looked in the mirror, and the director Todd Phillips kept it in. Phillips said that he played the film's score for Joaquin Phoenix because he "wanted the music to affect and infect the set in a way." During the first take as the score was playing, Philipps revealed that "as Joaquin is struggling with Arthur's smile, this little tear appears, and we just had the scene and we moved on."
  • Murray is nonetheless correct that not everyone is as rotten as Joker is claiming they are and that Joker's throwing a pity party just to justify his own horrific acts. On the other side, while Joker was never exactly the pinnacle of sanity, he is definitely correct that the main reason he is who he is now is because everyone uses his illness as an excuse to beat him down and just about everyone he knows has either abused him or thrown him under the bus, so he has genuine reasons behind his nihilistic ideology.
  • The film is set during an economic recession where the downtrodden citizens of Gotham are shown doing what they can to survive, while the rich get to enjoy their opulent lifestyle. After Arthur kills three wealthy office workers, people start viewing the "clown vigilante" as a Working-Class Hero. Not helping matters are the fact that Arthur's therapist says she has to stop his sessions and cut off his anti-psychotic medications due to budget cuts. Thomas Wayne announcing his bid for mayor of Gotham City and referring to the poor as "clowns" who are too lazy to work hard and pull themselves out of poverty, as well as claiming that he's their only hope to improve their lives, pushes the impoverished over the edge into a fully fledged Eat the Rich movement.
  • During his rehearsals to appear on Murray's show, Arthur ends them with pretending to shoot himself, implying he intends to commit suicide on live, national television. However, he ultimately changes his mind, deciding to murder Murray on live, national television instead.
  • Todd Phillips actually believes his movie is about kindness and empathy. The filmmaker recently explained this distinction, saying: "If I had to drill down on one overarching theme for me, it's about the power of kindness and a lot of people miss that. I think if you don't see that you either don't have a soul or you're being reductive to make up for your own struggles in that area. But, really, to me, that's where it started from and there are other things in the movie like lack of love, the lack of empathy in society, and childhood trauma, but the power of kindness really runs through this film."
  • Hildur Guonadottir was awarded Best Original Score at the 77th Golden Globe Awards, giving Joker its first win of four nominations. Joaquin Phoenix also won the Golden Globe for Best Actor because of his role as Arthur Fleck.The award marks Guonadottir's first win and nomination at the annual ceremony as voted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Guonadottir's score won out over Motherless Brooklyn (Daniel Pemberton), Little Women (Alexandre Desplat), Marriage Story (Randy Newman) and 1917 (Thomas Newman). In Joker: Vision & Fury, a making-of documentary included on the Joker home release special features, Guonadottir admitted she "stumbled" into what would become the iconic main theme that underscored the famed bathroom scene where Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck fully transforms into the Joker: "I started writing the music just after reading the script," Guonadottir said. "So I just started playing with cello a bit, which is my main instrument, and just played around with some melodies and the feelings and I kind of sat with it for a few hours. And then I was actually practicing something else, and I kind of stumbled onto what became the main theme afterwards. It was just like a feeling strong feeling of something clicking into place, because it just connected with exactly the same feeling that I'd had when I read the script." She continued, "I was like, [gasps]. I caught my breath and I was like, 'Wait!' I just started recording, and that's kind of where the main theme was born, out of this feeling. 'This is how he feels, this is what this feels like.'" Phoenix and director Todd Phillips only cracked the improvised bathroom scene after setting it to Guðnadóttir's theme, sent to Phillips just a day earlier. The star "loved it," Phillips says in Vision & Fury, "and he just started doing this dance to it." "I think it's a really great moment in the movie, and it's a really much more effective way of illustrating the beginning of the transformation, with grace that kind of comes out of nowhere. You kind of feel that he has it in him," the director said of the impromptu bathroom dance. "We wrote in the script there's a certain elegance to him, and a certain romance he has it in him. There's music in him, so to speak. But that's the first time we really see it come out."
  • Several moments of Joaquin Phoenix's acceptance speech at the Golden Globes 2020, were censored for illicit language. But now, the full, uncensored version is available to view online, via Twitter user ThouFlowerGirl. Phoenix has spoken out in the past about his distaste for awards shows, famously calling campaigning for awards "total, utter bullsh-t." But despite his long-held anger, Phoenix did appear genuinely grateful to win last night at the Golden Globes. In talking directly to his fellow nominees, Phoenix said in part,"We all know there's no f-cking competition between us...I'm inspired by you, I'm your f-cking student." The praise didn't end there, either. Phoenix also thanked the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for acknowledging a link between animal agriculture and climate change by foregoing a meat option at the Golden Globes. After thanking Joker director Todd Phillips for giving him the role of Arthur Fleck, Phoenix shifted his speech towards the current political climate in saying, "contrary to popular belief, I don't want to rock the boat, but the boat is f-cking rocked." Later on, Phoenix urged his fellow members of Hollywood to take action as opposed to just talking about the problems.
  • According to Phillips, who talks about Phoenix's transformation on the upcoming Blu-ray of Joker (via CinemaBlend,) Phoenix eschewed the help of a professional nutritionist to help guide him through his ultimately 52 pound weight loss and came up with his own plan: a solitary apple per day. More than that, he did it in a frighteningly short amount of time, just a few months. "It was already like June and he hadn't started [losing weight] and we start shooting in September. And he's like, 180 pounds. He wasn't fat but we're talking about getting to 125 pounds," Phillips said. "And he goes 'I got it, I got it.' I go 'You know we can hire a guy. I got this thing, this woman who's a nutritionist, you might wanna...' 'No, no, that's not how I do it.' I go 'How do you do it?' He goes 'I just stop eating and I starve myself.' He just ate an apple a day for the whole summer." An apple of day for roughly three months is certainly not likely to be a doctor-approved and safe way of losing weight, but it's also possible that it's a bit of an exaggeration. Phoenix himself told Access Hollywood last September that his diet included more than just apples and he also insisted that he had worked closely with a medical professional during the process as it's something he's done before. "It wasn't an apple a day. No, you've also got lettuce and steamed green beans," Phoenix said. "It's something I've done before and you work with a doctor regimented and overseen and safe." However Phoenix actually pulled off the major weight loss, it certainly paid off. The actor's overall performance as Arthur Fleck has been one of the most universally praised elements of Joker, one that's seen critical acclaim, earned awards nominations, and has even received high praise from his fellow actors, including American Horror Story star Kathy Bates who recently told Deadline about how she was inspired by it. "Well, recently I saw an incredible performance by Joaquin Phoenix and as the Joker and it was electrifying and I had seen his work over the years but this was just astounding and in fact, I've gone back and watched it again and to see a performance like that inspires me to do better and to see what's possible," Bates said. "To see the kind of intricacy of work and the building of a character slowly over time and I mean this in the best way, the selfishness that it takes to create that kind of performance and it just inspires me not to get better, although that's part of it, but it makes me so happy that there's a performance like that out there that I know when I moved on from this earthly plane that the craft will be in the hands of someone like him and a lot of the younger people that are coming up. It makes me feel that the last 50 years have been worth it."
  • When Joaquin Phoenix won the Best Actor - Drama award at the Golden Globes, one of the fellow nominees was Batman actor Christian Bale.
  • With Joaquin Phoenix's Golden Globe win for Best Actor, Joker became the first and only fictional character to have won more than one award. Heath Ledger previously won it for The Dark Knight (2008) in the Best Supporting Actor category.
  • Director Todd Phillips revealed which real city his Gotham was based on, saying: "Even though we don't really say when and where the movie takes place, in my mind, it was always New York City, 1981, what did that look like and what did that feel like from my memory of it. I was only 11 or 12-years-old, but my memory was kind of what you see in the movie. A very run down, broken down city on every level."
  • When he first becomes the Joker, Arthur wears and orange vest with a blue collard shirt underneath the bright red suit. In The Batman Animated Series, the Joker wore an orange shirt with a cowboy blue bow tie underneath his purple suit.
  • The scene where Fleck is kicking a whole lot of stuff in a fit of rage. It's been said this is the moment Joaquin Phoenix legitimately dislocated his knee, something the tweet points out.
  • Ledermann, hair department head Kay Georgiou, and costume designer Mark Bridges learned during an early meeting that Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix had clear ideas for Joker's appearance. "They came to the table with a digital mock-up, but we had more of a discussion about each look rather than sharing a bunch of visual references," Georgiou says.
  • Arthur's hair is described in the script as black, but Kay Georgiou knew that it would be too dark. The stylist instead played with hairpieces to decide on the exact shape and length before reaching for the scissors to cut Joaquin Phoenix's actual hair. She then dyed it in a way that wasn't distracting or wouldn't get lost in the lighting designs by cinematographer Lawrence Sher. "Whatever you do for hair in real life, it always lights darker on film, so we wanted to go with his normal hair but a shade darker," Georgiou says. Completing the style, she added grease and texture to make it look lived in.
  • Costume designer Mark Bridges dressed Arthur in polyester, tying in an era-appropriate color palette. Bridges states, "I imagined if he ever did laundry, everything went into the washer at the same time. We made a kind of bad laundry feel to the clothing. It's those subtle choices you can make for a character that informs the audience who they are and how they live."
  • Arthur's appearance as a classic clown needed a familiar yet unique style to deliver his working look at the beginning of the film, says Ledermann. "But we needed to create simple clown makeup that would not be compared with anyone else," she adds.
  • When Arthur transforms into Joker, his guise is driven by his past. "As Arthur progresses, we made little movements toward darker colors in his wardrobe right before he becomes Joker to echo what goes on emotionally for him in the story," Jim Bridges says. Ultimately Bridges designed the Joker outfit as a 1970s-inspired maroon-colored suit that has a slightly longer line in the jacket while connecting subtleties in his previous life. "His clown waistcoat is his Joker's vest. The clown tie becomes a necktie that he wears. Everything has a motivation, and it all comes out organically," he says.
  • For Joker's iconic green hair, it was production designer Mark Friedberg who suggested what became the final look. "He said it should be a broccoli green," says Kay Georgiou. "Todd was all for it, and then it was a matter of what type of broccoli- organic broccoli, cheaper broccoli, freshly cut, older broccoli; there's a plethora of broccoli greens out there." Georgiou ended up taking several swatches and dying them different colors for Phillips to choose from.
  • Adding to the menacing persona is the makeup. "When he turns into Joker, that clown character he hides behind to make people laugh is gone and he's completely crazy, but we had to relate the makeup between the clown and Joker," says Ledermann.
  • Joker's white face is never pure in color and more matte than glossy. Blues and reds are tonally subdued, too. "We didn't want the makeup to reflect in the light so that it could fit with the muted color palette, since nothing is shiny in this movie," says Ledermann. "The colors are a bit antique-y, meaning they're not pure but have some warmth. The blue is a mix of greens and teal. The red is a reddish-brown color that resembles blood. Even his slanted smile is a metaphor that everything is not perfect. Maybe it's funny -- maybe it's not."
  • The 'Joker Stairs' became so popular that they're now a place on Google Maps. Fans even put it into the "religious destination" category.
  • Correlations between 'Joker' and 'Taxi Driver' can be spotted throughout the movie.
  • Pornhub revealed that there have been 741,000 searches for "Joker" since the movie's release in October.
  • When preparing for the role, Joaquin Phoenix studied the movements of iconic silent film stars like Buster Keaton and Ray Bolger.
  • Although past actors went to dark places in real life to play the role of the Joker, Joaquin Phoenix says he didn't have that experience. He states, "I didn't struggle, it was enjoyable, it was fulfilling."
  • All clocks in the movie show the time as 11:11. Fans went crazy with bible verse theories and such, but when asked about it, director Todd Phillips said "It's a coincidence. No, I mean, I don't know. I think it's a coincidence. "
  • Joaquin Phoenix's weight loss for Joker was so extreme that there was no opportunity for reshoots. Usually, when a movie goes into the editing stage, the producers figure out which shots don't quite work and which ones they need to retake. But they wouldn't be able to do that with Joker, for the sake of Phoenix's health. So, Todd Phillips was continually rewriting the script throughout production. According to Zazie Beetz, Phillips would work on the script with the actors in his trailer, then they'd learn their new lines while their hair and makeup was applied, and they'd shoot it that day.
  • It's highly uncommon for a film score to be written before the film itself is shot. Usually, the score is written when the movie has been mostly cut together so that the composer can craft the sounds that complement the images. But Sergio Leone used to do things very differently. He'd have his composers write the score before shooting, then play the music on the set to create the right mood and give the actors a sense of the feel of the movie. Todd Phillips emulated this technique when he made this film, asking composer Hildur Guðnadóttir to write the score before filming began so that he could play it on the set.
  • Executives started to get a little antsy about the graphic violence in the dailies they were being shown. Having agreed to make Joker with an R rating when Phillips initially pitched his vision for it, the studio considered vetoing the rating and almost forced the director to sanitize the movie midway through production. Phillips had to convince the executives to let him keep making the film with its eventual R rating. Frankly, if Joker was forced to be toned down for a PG-13 rating, while still maintaining the same story, it would've been a complete mess.
  • Joaquin Phoenix was attending the latest of Jane Fonda's "Fire Drill Fridays" climate change protests, held at Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.; which led to Phoenix getting arrested as part of that same demonstration. The Washington Post and TMZ both report that Phoenix was taken into custody by the capitol police - with video of the incident said to be forthcoming. This is not a unique incident, as Fonda and other celebrities have previously been arrested as part of "Fire Drill Fridays" since the protests began in November.
  • The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, the most of any film in the 2020 Oscars for the year.
  • The film is the second comic book film to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. The first film is Black Panther (2018).

Spoilers

  • Robert De Niro's role as Murray Franklin, the talk-show host who unwittingly gives Arthur Fleck/The Joker his big break, is an ironic role reversal of The King of Comedy (1982), where De Niro played Rupert Pupkin, an unsuccessful, mentally-unstable comedian who stalked and kidnapped his favorite talk-show host, Jerry Langford (played by Jerry Lewis).
  • Joaquin Phoenix revealed an unexpected challenge he faced during filming and rehearsals he revealed: "But a really transformative moment was after the Subway when he's in the bathroom," He elaborated, "That was something that we really hadn't anticipated. We talked about that scene all throughout rehearsal. When I really kind of struggled to find something that I felt really made sense to kind of illustrate the change from Arthur to Joker. There were things like that every day up until the last scene I shot where we did multiple versions of it, It just was the nature of the character. When Todd [Phillips] and I became comfortable with that, it really began to emerge. That was a really unexpected, strange, and unique process for me. But, it was enjoyable," Phoenix concluded.
  • Joaquin Phoenix revealed his favorite part of filming, was sassing off Robert De Niro's character Murray Franklin, he stated: "It was one of my favorites, saying 'Murr-AY.' ... Todd loved that too. And when I did that I thought: Is De Niro just going to throw an ash tray at me?"
  • Although Batman is not featured, young Bruce Wayne appears twice by name. The latter scene depicts the sudden murder of both his parents. This is what causes Bruce to become the Batman in the source comic books. However, it is slightly changed in the movie.
  • During the protest scene, when Arthur dances on top of the police car near the end of the movie, there's a wide shot and a billboard in the background says "Ace in the Hole", which is a line Heath Ledger's Joker says in The Dark Knight (2008).
  • Joker kills 6 people throughout the course of the movie. The three men on the subway, Penny Fleck, Randall and Murray Franklin. It is implied that he kills an employee at Arkham Asylum at the end but the only thing shown is his bloody footprints as he walks out of the room.
  • At the end of the movie, Arthur is seen leaving arkham. During his first visit with his Social worker, she mentions he had been institutionalized at one point. The end scene shows their first visit, and Arthurs release.
  • Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) kills his mother Penny Fleck (Frances Conroy) the exact way Chief, played by Will Sampson, kills McMurphy, played by former Joker actor Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975): suffocation via pillow.
  • When Joker is involved in a car accident in Gotham's equivalent to Time Square, a marquee for an adult film called 'Ace in the Hole' is prominent in the background. In The Dark Knight (2008), the Joker (Heath Ledger) says: "You didn't think I'd risk losing the battle for Gotham's soul in a fist-fight with you? No, you need an ace in the hole; mine's Harvey." Also, many depictions of the Joker's origin (in comics and on the screen) have him falling into a vat of chemicals at Ace Chemical Plant.
  • When Arthur lets himself into Sophie's (Zazie Beetz) apartment, he tells her "I've had a bad day". This is a reference to the iconic comic book "The Killing Joke", in which the Joker's theory is everyone is just one bad day from madness.
  • During the film, the seeing of giant rats in Gotham is mentioned. If you pay attention, you can see at least three CGI giant rats running fast through the streets in key scenes, adding a disturbing element to the already dark mood of the movie: when Arthur is talking in the phone booth; when Arthur is chasing the last yuppie outside the subway; when Bruce is crying over his parents' corpses.
  • The ending of the film where the Joker is in Arkham is meant to be ambiguous as the viewer is given to draw a line about what exactly did happen and did not happen throughout the movie because everything is from Arthur's perspective. This is further hinted when he says to the doctor "You wouldn't get it" when he was asked what he finds funny implying that the whole thing was one big joke to him. In an interview, Phoenix said "This movie requires a certain amount of participation from the audience. It's up to you how you want to interpret it and experience it. It's less you being kind of presented with the facts than you being presented with these possibilities."
  • Joker is the first DC work to imply that Joker and Batman are possibly half brothers. This theory is not introduced from the comics or other shows and is entirely original to this film.
  • In most of Batman canon, Batman's parents are killed by an average mugger named "Joe Chill". However, in Batman (1989), Thomas and Martha Wayne were murdered by a man named Jack Napier who would later become the Joker. In this film, an unidentified man dressed in a Joker mask murders the Waynes during a riot, making it the second film to imply the Joker is linked to the Waynes' deaths, and thus the creation of Batman.
  • At learning of the abuse in his childhood, Arthur smothers his mother to death. This is the second movie wherein Joaquin Phoenix's character smothers their parent to death after Gladiator (2000). In it, Phoenix's character Commodus smothers his father Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris).
  • Arthur's journal, used as a prop in the film, was wrote by Joaquin Phoenix kept in the character.
  • It appears Arthur is illiterate to an extent, or dyslexic. In his journal it seems he misspells most words like "I hope my death makes more cents than my life" or in another entry "imagine thats how you die, on the stret" (street). Cents was written by the Joker as a pun on the word "sense". Ironically, he's able to spell "mental illness" correctly.
  • Apart from the fact that the film is based on a mostly original screenplay rather than a direct adaptation of previous Joker origin stories, it is also unique in presenting traditional enemies Joker and Bruce Wayne (Batman) as possibly related: Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is supposedly the illegitimate son of Thomas Wayne, and thus Bruce's half-brother. The movie presents it with a high degree of ambiguity, though: Arthur is initially under the impression that his father left him when he was still too young to remember him, but then learns that he was born out of a secret affair between his mother Penny and Thomas Wayne. He confronts both Alfred Pennyworth (Douglas Hodge) and Wayne (Brett Cullen) with this information, but both men seem completely unfazed by this revelation. They counter-argue that Penny was delusional and merely imagined this affair; she got Arthur through adoption. Arthur subsequently obtains his mother's psychiatric file, which seems to corroborate these events, as well as the fact that his own mental condition may be the result of domestic abuse and negligence. However, all of this is put into question when Arthur finds an old picture of his mother, with the text "Love your smile, TW" on the back; it implies that Penny and Thomas DID have a secret affair that produced Arthur, which could mean that Thomas Wayne used all his power to get Penny locked up in an asylum, and fabricated adoption papers in order to hide his illegitimate son. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Brett Cullen stated that he played Wayne with this latter scenario in mind. All of this is covered with another layer of uncertainty as Arthur is presented as an unreliable narrator who completely imagines a relation with his neighbor Sophie (Zazie Beetz), and depending on how the viewer interprets the ending, the entire movie may be part of Arthur's delusion.
  • When young Bruce Wayne leaves his play area to see Fleck at the gates he slides down a pole, a nod to the Adam West's Batman (1966) who would often slide down the bat pole.
  • Towards the end of the film when Arthur looks at the picture of his mother smiling, as you will see on the back of the photo is the phrase "I've always loved your smile", what you may have missed is that it's initialed TW (Thomas Wayne). Adding to the mystery of whether he truly is the joker's father, considering his power and influence it could have been easy to forge adoption papers, then again it could have been just as easy for Penny to sign the photo herself given her mental state.
  • Joker's red suit seen in the movie pays tribute to The King of Comedy (1982), where Rupert Pupkin, played by Robert De Niro, also dresses in a red suit, and is an unsuccessful, mentally-unstable comedian who stalked and kidnapped his favorite talk-show host, Jerry Langford, played by Jerry Lewis.
  • The scene which had Arthur shooting Murray could be compared to the animated Batman film, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 (2012) that showed Joker killing an entire TV show audience with gas.
  • In the film Gladiator (2000) Commodus, played by Joaquin Phoenix, murders his father Marcus Aurelius by smothering / choking him. In this film, Arthur murders his mother Penny in the same way.
  • After getting hit by the taxi, Joker runs up the staircase to the rail station, where a sign behind him states "Exit 18th Avenue & McDonald Avenue." He then gets on the rail car with all the people in clown masks going to the protest. Food franchise McDonald's is famous by the clown Ronald McDonald.
  • Body Count: 8 (implied to be more off-screen)
  • When Arthur talks to his therapist after the subway shooting, he states that people did not notice who he was but now they were. He is subtly trying to tell her that he is the one that killed the three men.
  • Another indication that the film takes place in 1981 happens during the aftermath of the murder of Thomas Wayne and his wife in front of Bruce Wayne; the camera pans away from the alley behind the theatre and has a brief shot of the promotional poster for Wolfen (1981). That movie (also, ironically, a very violent R-rated horror/drama project released by Warner Brothers) was actually released in the summer of 1981.
  • There is a reference to 1986's "The Dark Knight Returns" graphic novel during the scene where Joker appears on the Murray Franklin Show. In this film, he walks up and kisses Dr. Salley. This is similar to the scene wherein the comic he appears on the David Endochrine show and kisses Dr. Ruth, infecting her with joker toxin embedded in his lipstick.
  • Because the film blends imagined events with actual events, the Joker qualifies as an unreliable narrator, a character whose credibility is compromised. It is up to the viewer's interpretation of what was real and what wasn't. In this sense the film is structured to resemble the character of the Joker himself. This was made evident in the graphic novel "The Killing Joke," where the Joker says: "If I'm going to have a past, I'd prefer it to be multiple choice!"
  • Joker's fictional house is located in the building at the 1147 Anderson Ave, The Bronx, NY 10452, USA.
  • This marks the second time that Brett Cullen is father of a superhero. In Ghost Rider (2007) he plays Barton Blaze, whose son Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) turns into Ghost Rider. In Joker he plays Thomas Wayne, whose son Bruce Wayne turns into Batman. Oddly enough, Barton Blaze and Thomas Wayne's deaths are the reason to create Ghost Rider and Batman. More odd, Cullen also appears as Congressman Gilley in The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
  • Even though it's never mentioned in the film yet it's heavily implied due to the optics, some people have speculated that Arthur Fleck suffers from an eating disorder. The eating disorder he may be suffering from is believed to be anorexia nervosa, which is a disorder that mainly affects women and some men. Arthur's skeletal appearance is similar to that of a person suffering from anorexia. He is never shown eating at any point during the film. The very few times he is seen dealing with food is when he is preparing a meal for his mother and later on in the film when he's removing the few bits of food left in the refrigerator before climbing into it. Even during the scene where he gives his mother her dinner in bed before they watch the Murray Franklin Show, she tells him that he should eat more. Not to mention, his frequent smoking further adds to his frail physique.
  • In Dark Knight Returns, the Joker kills Dr. Ruth by giving her a toxic kiss. This is alluded to in the film when he greets a Dr. Ruth Expy with a big kiss on the lips, causing the host to ask if she's OK.
  • The rioters modeling themselves after Arthur/the Joker may make them a Canon Immigrant of the Jokerz from Batman Beyond, gangsters (many from poorer backgrounds) who emulate the Joker in admiration of him.
  • Director Todd Phillips said that he intentionally left it ambiguous as to whether Arthur becomes the actual Joker as seen in traditional Batman stories or inspires a separate character.
  • After Arthur kills the three Wayne Enterprises workers and he goes to Sophie's apartment to kiss her, her apartment number is "9". When he goes to her apartment again, her apartment number is different, meaning that all his interactions with her were just fantasies.
  • After Arthur kills the three Wayne Enterprises workers and he goes to Sophie's apartment to kiss her, her apartment number is "9". When he goes to her apartment again, her apartment number is different, meaning that all his interactions with her were just fantasies.
  • Despite his frail and skeletal appearance, Arthur Fleck has shown to have surprising feats of strength. Even in the comics, some versions of the character of The Joker has displayed some instances of strength despite his varying thin appearances. In the movie that particular characteristic is present in some scenes. For example: * When Arthur leaves his job after being fired, he says in a sarcastic and somewhat angry manner, "I forgot to punch out." and proceeds to literally punch the clock off the wall a few times, seemingly without a problem. The clock was much larger and heavier than the average clock, and yet, he was able to practically destroy it with one hand. * When Arthur visits Wayne property and gets confronted by Alfred Pennyworth, Alfred insults him which prompts Arthur to grab him through the gates and strangle him until he stops for Bruce's sake. Alfred's shocked and frightened expression shows how strong and durable Arthur is. * When Arthur kills Randall at his apartment, he slashes and stabs him in the throat, stabs him in the eye, and bashes his head into the wall several times. Despite Randall being a physically bigger man, Arthur was able to grab him and do major damage to him.
  • Arthur Fleck/Joker is in almost every scene in the film except for one particular scene which is the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne.
  • There are several major clues that Arthur has imagined his entire relationship with Sophie: She somehow knows his name when accusing him of following her despite them never properly introducing, she is never once even slightly disturbed by any of his more erratic behaviours, and her daughter is mysteriously absent from all of her scenes following their first meeting. Also, Arthur is fascinated by details of Sophie's apartment at the doorway when he enters unannounced, indicating that it's his first time actually inside despite his fantasy of having slept with her there earlier.
  • The movie has taken strong inspirations from films like Taxi Driver (1976) and The King of Comedy (1982). However, it also shares some similarities with Carrie (1976). Arthur Fleck and Carrie White are both tragic characters that were driven to madness by awful familial histories and a toxic society. For example: * Both characters endured a lifetime of abuse and trauma that resulted in their mental illnesses and social awkwardness. * Both have abusive, overbearing, unreliable, and manipulative mothers. * Both are often mocked and bullied by other people. * Both are eventually driven to kill their abusive mothers. * Toward the end of both movies, both characters are invited to special events only to be publicly humiliated. * Both eventually snap and unleash violence on the public due to being publicly humiliated and the build-up of a lifetime of hurt. * Both ultimately left a devastating impact, for better or worse.
  • The card Arthur gives to the lady on the bus explaining his laugh says that it's a condition that stems from mental disorders or brain injuries, foreshadowing that his condition is actually from brain trauma and not from mental illness when he reads Penny's medical history after stealing it from Arkham State Hospital's archive.
  • When Arthur plays with his gun for the first time, he briefly points it at Penny's couch, hinting at her death later on.
  • This film showcase Thomas Wayne as a cold-hearted man who's possibly an adulterer. Depending on the possibilities and interpretations, it's implied that Wayne had an affair with Penny Fleck decades ago. In the 2018 DC Black Label three-issue comic series, "Batman: Damned", Thomas Wayne was also portrayed as cold-hearted and an adulterer. During a flashback in the first issue, young Bruce sees his father with another woman that's not his mother, and it appears as if Wayne brought his son along with him on his tryst with his mistress, not caring how it'll affect the boy.
  • Todd Phillips confirmed that Arthur did not kill Sophie (or her child) after she asked him to leave the apartment, and revealed a cut scene would have shown Sophie watching Arthur on the Murray Franklin show. Phillips added that he was surprised some audiences assumed Arthur had killed her.
  • During the scene Joker visits Wayne Manor, you see Bruce jump down a miniature fireman's pole to get off his play area. This is a reference to the original Batman series from the 60s, where Batman (and Robin) use a long fireman's pole to get down to the Batcave.
  • Penny and Arthur Fleck live in the apartment 8J. "J" is short for Joker, while 8 is for the eighth Batman's movie after Batman (1966), Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993), Batman Forever (1995), Batman & Robin (1997), Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008), where Joker was played by Joaquin Phoenix's personal friend Heath Ledger.
  • Both Murray Franklin and Thomas Wayne die in the same way, being shot with his killer screaming them: "You get what you fucking deserve!"
  • The club that Arthur performs at, "Pogo's", is a direct reference to the stage name of John Wayne Gacy. Gacy was a serial killer who performed under the persona of "Pogo the Clown". The two also share similar face makeup.
  • The long flight of steps is actually symbolic of Arthur's transformation from Arthur to Joker. In the first part of the film, we see Arthur climbing these steps a couple of times. Each time he climbs them is a struggle he is forced to take because that's where society has placed him in relation to where he wants to be. However, when he finally snaps and discovers his true self, he is seen dancing down the steps, indicating that his life now has become easier due to the fact. He can do what he wants and go where he wants. Nothing is a struggle anymore.
  • In Quills (2000), The Abbe du Coulmier, portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, was shown to have feelings for a servant named Madeline, portrayed by Kate Winslet. Toward the end of the film, after Madeline's death and overcome with grief, he vividly imagines her coming to life and making love to her in a chapel. Similarly, in this film, Arthur Fleck, also portrayed by Phoenix, was shown to have feelings for his neighbor, Sophie, portrayed by Zazie Beetz. After killing the three Wayne Enterprises employees who were harassing and physically assaulting him on the train and due to loneliness and his mental illness, he vividly imagines going to her apartment to make love to her and, throughout most of the film, being in a relationship with her.
  • Judging by the radio announcer that Arthur listens to at the beginning of the film and him stating to Murray Franklin while on his show, "It's been a rough few weeks," toward the end of the film, the film takes place from the middle of October to possibly November.
  • Despite not being part of the description for the film's R rating from the MPAA, the film also has brief sexual content. The scene that showcases this is the scene where Arthur is masturbating in bed when he gets the phone call to be invited onto The Murray Franklin Show. Though it could be argued that this scene is part of the film's "brief sexual images" warning, it's presented in a somewhat more noticeable manner due to actually seeing the act take place.
  • During the scene where Arthur Fleck visits the Wayne estate to talk to Thomas Wayne, the color of his coat and Bruce Wayne's coat are similar which is light yellow. This is a subtle symbolic clue that Arthur and Bruce were possibly related in some way.
  • Director Todd Phillips hinted Thomas Wayne is no hero. Many clues, including Wayne's loud pinstriped suits and Alfred's slicked-back hair and bruiser attitude as he separates Arthur Fleck from young Bruce, hint that Thomas Wayne may be affiliated with the Mafia. Wayne is certainly quick to violence; he's quick to resort to violence when Arthur Fleck tries to talk to him in a bathroom.
  • The film's opening news snippets discuss a garbage strike. NYC's garbage collectors went on strike in 1981. The 80s were also alive and well in Joker's fellow talk-show guest Dr. Sally, a clear nod to 1980s sex-talk-show personality Ruth Westheimer, who was known as Dr. Ruth. Having a radio talk show and later a television show, she became a household name in the 80s, advising viewers and radio listeners on sexual health and pleasure. She made a number of appearances on various talk shows.
  • Arthur repeats Sophie's "shoot myself in the head" gesture back at her after they meet in the elevator, providing us two instances of Foreshadowing. The first is one the movie itself spells out later by showing a flashback to this scene to indicate that it served as Arthur's inspiration to commit suicide on Murray's show. The second is Sophie's reaction, which is her being understandably creeped out by how he returns the gesture to her; this is not a woman who would consider Arthur as a romantic partner even taking into account the aforementioned stalking.
  • While rehearsing what he's going to do on Murray's talk show, Arthur thinks of doing a knock-knock joke and then pulling a gun out to shoot himself in the head. When he finally appears on the show, he tells a different joke to Murray and instead of shooting himself in the head, he shoots Murray himself in the head.
  • Arthur occasionally bashes his head into things when releasing pent-up aggression, and doesn't seem any worse for wear after the fact. Later on, it's revealed he suffered severe head trauma as a child.
  • The film opens with Arthur trying and failing to "put on a happy face" by forcing himself to smile. Near the end, after killing all the people who wronged him (or almost all, anyway: his boss is given the full karma Houdini treatment, he doesn't kill Alfred, and he isn't the one who kills Thomas Wayne) and finding himself surrounded by his clown-masked followers, Arthur easily pushes his lips into a smile, putting on a happy face as he dances for his adoring fans.
  • At the start of the film, there's a shot of a depressed Arthur looking out at the city through a bus window. An identical shot happens at the end, when a satisfied Joker watches the city burn from a police car.
  • Penny's nickname for Arthur, "Happy". Throughout the film she refers to him as Happy, but he's absolutely miserable. It isn't until he kills her that he finally becomes genuinely happy.
  • Earlier in the film, the Wall Street kids (whom every rich elite in Gotham were trying to victimize) told Arthur to "stay down" as he was lying on the floor while they were beating him up, yet the crazy riot group (whom the rich elite in Gotham were trying to demonize) were urging Joker to "get up" as he was lying on the car hood after they saved him from police.
  • When he visits Arkham to look into his mother's records, Arthur is wearing a jacket in the same yellow as the brick walls and a shirt in the same red as the pipes, showing that Arkham is where he belongs. He even states to the social worker at the beginning of the film that he felt a lot better while being locked up.
  • When Arthur, still in clown makeup after having been fired from his job, interrupts three drunken yuppies harassing a woman in the subway with his uncontrollable laughter, one of them starts to sing "Send in the Clowns" from Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music" play as he and his buddies surround Arthur before beating him up. The Frank Sinatra reprise of the same song plays over the end credits.
  • Shortly after Arthur shoots Murray live on air, the film cuts to a rack of broadcasting center monitors alternately showing various news anchors reporting the murder and footage of Arthur's appearance on the show before and after the murder. This is stylistically very similar to the final scene of Network which also depicts a television personality being shot dead live on air, and the chaotic media reaction immediately after. In The Dark Knight. In the very same scene as above, Joaquin Phoenix's Joker can be seen grabbing hold of the camera, repeating Murray's sign off to the audience. The framing is very similar to Heath Ledger's Joker sending self-made tapes, demanding Batman to step up and challenge him.
  • The social worker Arthur sees twice in the film (before the department's funding is cut) is named Debra Kane also the name of a Child Protective Services caseworker in the novel, "Batman: The Ultimate Evil". A very fitting homage, given what we find out later about Arthur being abused as a child.
  • Arthur's failed attempts to amuse Bruce and get him to smile calls to mind one reason for the Joker's obsession with Batman: he wants to make him laugh. Arthur mentioning a joke that only he and Bruce would get is a reference to the ending joke in "The Killing Joke".
  • After seeing the many variations of Thomas and Martha Wayne's murders in various Batman-related cartoons, shows, and films throughout the years, people have stated that for the first time ever after seeing this film, they felt nothing for the characters. Unlike most of the other versions, Thomas (especially) and Martha Wayne in this film were portrayed as cold, heartless, and evil. They were shown to not truly care about the plight of the poor and the mentally ill. And Thomas Wayne outright rejecting Arthur Fleck further shows his diabolical nature. Thus, when he and his wife were killed during the rebellion after Arthur murders Murray Franklin on television, their deaths were said to be almost like a form of Karma. It's Karma for them being selfish and cold-hearted to where they never helped people like Arthur.
  • As the Joker, Arthur claims that "nothing can hurt him anymore". Sure enough, he's able to survive getting hit by a taxi and a fatal car crash once he dons the makeup.
  • The opening and closing credits contain a certain level of brilliance: The film opens with the long outdated 70s Warner Bros. logo, most associated with the dark, cynical character studies of the 70s. When the film starts, Arthur views himself as a mentally ill outsider tortured by an uncaring society, no doubt a perfect protagonist for those kinds of films. This represents his tragic view of his life. In contrast to that, the final scene, in which Arthur is chased by orderlies after he kills his psychiatrist, feels like something out of a silent comedy, from his keystone kops-esque run to the stylized "The End" title card. Perfectly fitting of his new darkly comedic worldview and his acquired Joker persona.
  • During the interrogation in The Dark Knight, Joker gives the quote for the people are bastards where people throw away their morals at the first sign of trouble. The belief most likely came from how he got fired. Randall could have bailed Arthur out by explaining the situation with the gun, but he instead lied and pretended he had nothing to do with the matter so he would not face consequences himself.
  • The music is generally discordant, unsettling and tonally dissonant, to reflect Arthur's decaying mental state. One of the few exceptions, however, is when Arthur encounters Bruce Wayne, at which point the music briefly sounds hopeful and inspiring. To Arthur, this is because he's meeting the boy who could be his brother. To the audience, however, there's another reason we're meeting the boy who will one day be Batman, a figure of hope and inspiration for the city.
  • The clip that Murray plays of Arthur before introducing Joker on the Murray Franklin show actually differs slightly from Arthur's original performance in Pogo's earlier in the film.
  • Body Count: 8 (possibly more offscreen)
  • According to director Todd Phillips, a certain scene had to be cut in order for the film to avoid getting an NC-17 rating. That scene involves Arthur in the bathtub. Phillips calls the scene "amazing" yet opted out of leaving it in the theatrical cut due to concerns of the MPAA's reaction to the scene that might've cost the film its intended R rating. The scene was one of the many scenes shot yet ultimately deleted from the theatrical cut. He states, "I don't think we can actually include it in an R rated movie and it's not because it was pornographic, it was just insane." This sparked a lot of curiosity over the scene.
  • When Arthur goes to Sophie's apartment after finding out the painful revelation of his childhood and Sophie fearfully asking him if he needs some help, he mournfully responds to her, "I had a bad day." This is a reference to the 1989 comic book, "The Killing Joke". In the comic, it was stated that it took one bad day for the man who would become The Joker to snap. Interestingly, in this film, it actually didn't take one bad day for Arthur Fleck to snap. It took an entire lifetime of bad days for him to eventually snap and become The Joker.
  • The film was showing the story of 1981, it is evident from the fact that at the end when Wayne family gets out of theatre we can see Brian De Palma's Blow Out (1981) name.
  • We know how Heath Ledger kissed a lady fan while entering a show....the movie paid tribute to that through the scene in which The Joker kisses a lady celebrity on the De Niro character's live show.
  • The officially released screenplay for the DC Comics adaptation, reveals what became of Sophie, she is indeed still alive. "From the kitchen in Penny's apartment, Arthur scribbles a misspelled note: 'on Murray Franklin Tonight -- Pleese Watch!' Arthur stuffs the note inside an envelope addressed to 'Sofi.' In the hallway, we follow Arthur 'heading for Sophie's apartment, his dyed green hair now slicked back.' "STILL FROM BEHIND, he lays the envelope in front of Sophie's door, then pulls something else out of his pocket -- his body obscuring what it is -- puts it down by her door and leaves. As he walks away down the hallway, we see what else Arthur left behind -- HIS MAGIC WAND OF FLOWERS, at Sophie's door." It turns out that Sophie pays attention to Arthur's message and does indeed watch the show. However, she's clearly shocked by what happens next after "Joker" guns down Franklin Murray. "Sophie screams and jumps to her feet horrified! Waking up GiGi who starts to cry when she sees what's on television--ANGLE ON TELEVISION, Joker gets up and walks right up to the camera. Blood sprayed over his white painted face. Hear the studio audience still screaming, bedlam all around him."
  • During the fateful confrontation between Arthur and Murray, Arthur was supposed to say "What do you get, when you cross a mentally ill loner, with a system...", but instead said, "With a society...".
  • Brett Cullen strongly believes that Arthur is indeed Thomas's son, and played the role with this fact in mind.
  • An earlier version of the script had a different story arc in mind for Sophie. Arthur originally did go out with her a few times, but she only did so out of pity, and she was romantically involved with someone else. When Arthur discovered this, he went on an extended, borderline-misogynistic rant to her face, before telling her to watch Murray Franklin's show on that fateful night. This version of the story makes it clear that he didn't kill her, as she's shown watching the show with her child.
  • Another element from the leaked script that didn't make the cut was a scene where Arthur originally told Sophie a story during a date, explaining that he cut a slight smile onto his face as a child to scare off bullies. The scene would get a call-back at the end of the film, where Arthur, now the Joker, would have used a glass shard from the car wreck to carve those wounds open again and spread them even wider in front of the crowd. Instead, he paints a smile on his face with his own blood in the finished film.
  • The original script leak had a slightly different ending. After Arthur kills Murray, he escapes the studio. The riot occurs but in this version the rioters break into Wayne Manor, dragging out Thomas and Martha Wayne and executing them. Bruce, while this occurs, hides from the rioters and is found by Alfred the next day. Arthur eludes the police for a few days until he shows up at the Waynes' funeral and he is immediately seen. Arthur is chased and tries to flee but during the process is hit by a car and captured by the police.
  • An alternate ending intended for the film had Arthur revealing to his therapist on Arkham that the joke he was thinking was that he had killed Thomas and Martha Wayne himself and left Bruce Wayne to cry before turning back and killing the boy. The ending was cut because Bruce's death would mean that Batman will never come to exist in the film's universe.
  • Before Arthur kills Murray Franklin on live TV, he blames him for not knowing the "real world" and never leaving the studio. In fact, all of Murray's appearances in the movie are him being in the Television studio.
  • The storyline riffs on the Bernhard Goetz shooting in New York City in the 1980s. A young man who had been mugged and denied a carry permit illegally acquired a Smith & Wesson Chief Special .38 to carry, and when surrounded on a subway car by four young black muggers, put a bullet into each and fled at the next subway stop. None died, though one was paralyzed for life, and by the time Goetz turned himself in, he had become a hero among New Yorkers who were fed up with the street crime which was rampant in that city at that time.
  • In the shot of the rack of TV screens after Arthur kills Murray, the live broadcast screens show the beginning of the violent riots that we see through the last scene of the movie.
  • The use of Excalibur as the movie the Waynes are going to see has an odd significance to the larger plot. In the Arthurian legend, Arthur was the illegitimate son of Uther Pendragon and Lady Igrayne after Uther disguised as her husband. Arthur is then taken away by Merlin and raised by another knight, Sir Ector. Later, Arthur's half sister Morgana Le Fey disguised herself and bore a child, Mordred, who later wars against Arthur. By making Arthur Fleck possibly Thomas Wayne's son, he is both "Arthur" and Mordred to the future "Dark Knight," Bruce Wayne.
  • Zazie Beetz has said that she thought Sophie's fate was clear all along. But in the pair's final scene together, it was seemingly left ambiguous as to whether Arthur murders Sophie in her apartment. Director Todd Phillips has spoken out to say "definitively" that he doesn't kill her, while the film's cinematographer also made it clear that Sophie survived. And now, Beetz has told The Hollywood Reporter: "It was always very self-evident to me that she didn't get killed. "Arthur was avenging himself against people who did him wrong, and I didn't [wrong him]. I acknowledged him." The actress even admitted that she never discussed the outcome with Phillips. Explaining what she took from Sophie and Arthur's final moments on screen, Beetz added: "I think when he comes into my apartment, he understands what the situation is and that I would feel fear in that moment. "I still function in an act of trying to take care [of him], like, 'Should I call your mother?' or, 'Do you need help right now?' I never felt that [she died], but a lot of people did so it's up to interpretation, I suppose."
  • Joaquin Phoenix improvised the bathroom dance scene on the spot. In the script, Arthur simply runs into the bathroom, hides the gun, washes his face, and talks to himself while looking at the mirror.
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