It looks like the DC Comics universe is finally embracing R-rated films, as we might be getting our first mature-rated superhero movie in the near future. The MPAA has yet to give an official ruling, but the consensus indicates that Joaquin Phoenix's new film Joker will be Rated R when it finally premieres in theaters.
Some sites indicated that the movie was indeed confirmed to have that rating, though it's yet to be official. That said, there are a lot of indications that the film will be a more violent film dealing with mature subject matter. And based on the first trailers, that definitely seems to be the case.
But the clearest indicator is not only the subject matter, which deals with the character's slow descent into madness, but the fact that Phoenix himself has talked about the nature of the film dealing deep into darkness.
"I think, underneath the excitement of these films, and the size of them, there are these incredible characters that are dealing with real life struggles," Phoenix explained to Collider. "And sometimes that is uncovered and exposed, and sometimes it isn’t, and so I always felt, like, there were characters in comics that were really interesting and deserve the opportunity to be kind of studied. And so I think that’s what Todd sees appealing about this idea."
While it's possible to tell this story without a lot of blood and cuss words, it sounds like the best way to get it across would be to focus on the volatile and violent nature of the title character of Joker, without diluting the severity of his madness.
It sounds like the film will continue to go down that road, as indicated by actor Marc Maron.
"I think it’s a very interesting approach to this world," Maron explained to NME. "I’ve been somewhat judgemental when it comes to comic book movies and I’ve got a little pushback in the press for being a hypocrite. Whatever I think, if you get a call and someone says, ‘Hey do you wanna do a scene with Robert De Niro and Joaquin Phoenix?’ your principals fall to the wayside."
He went on to explain that director Todd Phillips is using the opportunity to dig deep into the psyche of the character, much like the original graphic novels Joker and The Killing Joke.2comments
"If it’s relative to what I think of Marvel movies then it’s like, ‘Yeah, of course I’m gonna do that’. Oddly, it’s not that kind of movie. The approach that Todd Phillips has taken is more of an origin story and a character study of a mentally ill person that becomes The Joker," Maron said. "It’s more of an intimate and gritty movie with a very specific scope. It’s going to be really interesting to see how it comes out."
Joker premieres in theaters on October 4th.