That was quite a quick turnaround for the Joaquin Phoenix-led Joker origin film. Just a few weeks after Alec Baldwin was cast as Thomas Wayne in Joker, he stepped away from the project due to scheduling conflicts. Today, Warner Bros. announced who will be filling in as Baldwin’s replacement: veteran television actor Brett Cullen.
ComicBook.com appears to be the first that confirmed the casting. Cullen is probably best known for his roles on various television shows, such as Person of Interest and Lost. He is no stranger to comic book movies, however; he appeared as Barton Blaze in the Ghost Rider film and as a congressman in The Dark Knight Rises.
As of right now, Cullen’s Thomas Wayne is the only significant comic book character that we know is appearing in the film, other than Phoenix’s Joker. As the film is an origin story, it seems as if it will take place well before Bruce Wayne adopted the cape and cowl of Batman. Cullen’s Thomas Wayne is expected to be portrayed quite differently than he generally appears in the comics – not as likable and possibly playing a role in the Joker’s transformation.
Phoenix will play a character named Arthur Fleck, a failed comedian who gradually evolves into the Clown Prince of Crime. It sounds like the film will draw from the Killing Joke storyline, but is not expected to follow it completely.
Joker is, as of right now, not expected to be a part of the extended DC Cinematic Universe. That will give Phoenix and director Todd Phillips a lot of room to play with a very famous character. Phillips is best known for directing raunchy comedies like Road Trip, Old School, and The Hangover, so he is certainly an interesting choice to direct what should be a sinister and intense film. Robert De Niro will also play a role in the film, although we don’t know what character he will portray at this moment.
Joker is scheduled to release October 4, 2019. Stay tuned for more information on the film as it becomes available.