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Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros.
In much the same way that everyone has a favourite Batman (Michael Keaton, obviously), everybody also has a favourite Joker. There have been some excellent portrayals of the grinning sociopath, too - Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and even Zach Galifianakis in The LEGO Batman Movie all did great jobs. And Jared Leto definitely did the psychotic side of him down to a T.
But it looks like there's a new Crown Prince Of Crime in town, namely Joaquin Phoenix, who plays the most evil villain in the DC Universe in the forthcoming origin story of the Joker - which, handily, is titled Joker.
Directed by Todd Phillips - best known for calling the shots for comedy series The Hangover and co-writing A Star Is Born - the film gets its release on October 4, but will be shown at the Venice Film Festival later this month, prompting speculation that Phoenix might well be a contender to take the Best Actor award at the 2020 Oscars.
In fact, the actor is currently the bookies' favourite to claim the gong, with odds of 9/4. According to the NME, he's up alongside Tom Hanks, who has odds of 3/1 for his role as Mr Rogers in A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood, Taron Egerton, who's been given a 10/3 chance for his portrayal of Elton John in Rocketman, and Antonio Banderas who's been given 7/2 odds for his role in Pain And Glory.
Interestingly and unusually - and probably much to the disgust of hardcore DC/Batman/Joker fans - Joker pays next to no attention to the (admittedly numerous) origin stories of the comic books.
In this film, The Joker's real name is Arthur Fleck - a failed stand-up comedian who turns to a life of psychopathic crime after he goes insane. He becomes known as The Joker after he wreaks havoc on Gotham City with a series of deranged crimes.
It's a decision that Phillips has pre-emptively defended. In an interview with Empire magazine, he said: "We didn't follow anything from the comic-books, which people are gonna be mad about. 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."