Todd Phillips' Joker movie now has a working title and is assembling its production crew, ahead of filming beginning this September. The as-yet untitled movie will be the first DC Comics adaptation set outside the continuity of the Justice League cinematic franchise released since Man of Steel hit theaters in 2013. Plot details are understandably scarce at this point, but it has been reported that the film takes place in the 1980s and explores the origins of the Clown Prince of Crime - drawing from aspects of Alan Moore's landmark The Killing Joke comic book, in the process.
More and more reports are now coming in that Phillips' Joker movie will begin shooting this September, with Joaquin Phoenix starring in the lead role. With a script by Phillips and Oscar-nominee Scott Silver (The Fighter) seemingly done and ready for filming, the next step will be to assemble the rest of the cast and production crew. According to the latest update on the project, that process is already well under-way.
THS reports that Phillips' Joker film aims to begin shooting in New York this September and is currently going under the working title Romeo. The site further claims that Phillips has already recruited his War Dogs and The Hangover trilogy cinematographer Lawrence Sher to work on his DC feature, along with production designer Mark Friedberg (Noah, Selma) and Oscar-winning costume designer Mark Bridges (Phantom Thread). Phillips and his casting director Shayna Markowitz (Ocean's 8) will be looking to fill out the film's cast over the next couple of months.
It was reported last week that the Joker movie could be released as part of a banner called DC Dark or DC Black. As that name implies, this non-DCEU label may walk on the darker side thematically and embrace more adult tones or subject matter than its Justice League counterpart. The DC Dark/Black films will also be less expensive than other DC tentpoles, with Phillips' Joker movie expected to cost "only" $55 million to make. This, in theory, will allow for greater artistic experimentation on DC projects freed from the burden of continuity, similar to how DC Comics' Elseworlds banner functions.
As for the Romeo working title: it could be a reference to the movie's gloomy "love story". Phillips' film will reportedly follow The Killing Joke's lead and portray the Clown Prince of Crime as a failed comedian but a loving family man, who eventually turns to madness when tragedy strikes. However, because the movie isn't a strict adaptation of Moore's controversial comic book, it can improve upon its source material and deliver a compelling origin story for the Joker that avoids the regressive aspects of The Killing Joke. That's the hope for this film, anyway.
We will bring you more information on the untitled Joker movie as it becomes available.