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Director Todd Phillips Says Joker Takes Nothing From Comic Books

When Scott Silver (The Fighter) and director Todd Phillips (The Hangover) were writing Joker, they took enormous inspiration from Joaquin Phoenix, the actor they hoped to cast in the title role. “I think he’s the greatest actor,” Phillips told Empire. “We had a photo of him above our computer while we were writing. We constantly thought, ‘God, imagine if Joaquin actually does this.’”

While you might suspect the writers also took inspiration from various comics featuring the Joker, Phillips suggests otherwise—and he won’t be surprised if this inspires a backlash. “We didn’t follow anything from the comic books, which people are gonna be mad about,” he said. “We just wrote our own version of where a guy like Joker might come from. That’s what was interesting to me. We’re not even doing Joker, but the story of becoming Joker. It’s about this man.”

Joker arrives in theatres on October 4. Check out the trailer below.