It's something that fans have wanted for some time, an R-rated superhero movie and the general consensus has been that the best chance for that would be the upcoming DC Comics universe film, Joker. Now, director Todd Phillips confirms that an R-rating is exactly what he's going for in the Joaquin Phoenix-starring film.
In a new post to Instagram on Sunday, Phillips shared a behind-the-scenes photo from Joker featuring Phoenix painting his face white in front of multiple mirrors. The image itself is exciting as it offers a new look at the much-anticipated film, but it's in the comments that things get interesting in terms of the film's rating. When a fan asks about the MPAA rating, Phillips clarified with the comment that it will be R-rated.
Now, while Phillips uses verbiage that makes it sound like the R-rating is a done deal, it's important to note that the MPAA does not rate films until they are complete. When it comes to Joker, that means the film has not yet been officially given that rating, but Phillips' comment is a solid confirmation that he's going for that rating and taking into consideration everything we've seen thus far, it seems very likely that the Phillips' intention will become reality.
And what do we know about Joker thus far? The biggest thing is the subject matter. As Joker will be an origin story for the character, we will see Phoenix's Arthur Fleck failed stand-up comedian in his slow descent into madness that ultimately leads him to become the infamous villain. It's something that Phoenix himself has discussed when it comes to the film's approach to this slide into madness and the depth of its 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."
Actor Marc Maron has also talked about how the film presents an opportunity to dig deep into Joker's psyche in a similar vein as the original graphic novels Joker and The Killing Joke did.
"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 told NME. "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 4.