It looks like Warner Bros. might be taking Todd Phillips' Joker to the Venice Film Festival. Sources close to the studio say the Venice launch might kick off the fall awards season. Joaquin Phoenix is no stranger to the festival and has appeared many times over the years, including last year for The Sisters Brothers. Phoenix took home the Best Actor Volpi Cup in 2012 at the festival for his role in Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master. Could Joker end up taking home some awards at the festival and later at the Academy Awards?
Warner Bros. has already revealed they are sitting this year's San Diego Comic-Con out, so the Venice Film Festival launch for Joker makes sense. With that being said, the move could be to give the upcoming movie on the Clown Prince of Crime a better standing when it comes to how the project is marketed. The first trailer plays out like an homage to Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver and King Of Comedy, which are both a far cry from the normal superhero movies out currently.
When a fan called Todd Phillips out about not following a traditional comic book origin story for Joker, the director simply said, "Yeah. You may want to skip this one." Though not much about the project has been publicly discussed, it has from the start, been described as something different from what the DCEU and MCU have been doing for the past handful of years. Joaquin Phoenix has stated that Joker is a character study on the villain, and from the looks of things, he was accurate in his description.
With Todd Phillips and the studio going for a new approach with Joker, it could alienate comic book fans. However, the director doesn't seem all that concerned with his take on the iconic character. Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix are clearly taking the Joker in a new direction, which could end up with some serious attention when the Academy Awards come around early next year. Phoenix has been nominated multiple times and is arguably one of the best actors of his generation. Plus, this wouldn't be the first time that the Clown Prince of Crime has gotten some attention at the annual event.
Heath Ledger famously won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2009 for his portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight. Marvel Studios' Black Panther was recently nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and took home three awards. There is precedent, and with Todd Phillips' Joker blazing its own trail, the movie could be destined for bigger things, while possibly exposing the character to an audience who wouldn't normally watch a movie based on a comic book. For now, we'll just have to see what Warner Bros. ends up deciding to do with the movie. Joker hits theaters on October 4th. Deadline was the first to report on the Venice Film Festival news.