Todd Phillips On How 'Joker' Was Separated From Other DC Comics Movies

It doesn't take much to figure out that Todd Phillips' Joker, and Joaquin Phoenix's take on the villainous character, were never meant to mix with the DCEU. Our natural inclination at this point is to assume everything is part of a cinematic universe, or eventually will be part of one, but Phillips recently made it clear that is not the case for his movie, and the reasons why it could never happen were built right into the story through its 1980s setting.

Speaking with Collider, Phillips talks about the period setting for Joker, confirming it was to stay as far away from any Justice League nonsense as possible...

“One reason was to separate [‘Joker’], quite frankly, from the DC Universe. When we pitched it to Warner Bros. and handed the script in to sort of make it clear, this isn’t fucking with anything you have going on. This is like a separate universe. So much so, it takes place in the past before everything else.”

The influence of Scorsese films such as Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy has been clear in the footage that's been made available, and Phillips says capturing the "handmade" feel of movies from that era played into his decision on setting...

“Another reason is because tonally, the movie is very much a character study…But in the ‘70s and ‘80s, they were much more frequent [than today], so in a way, it was also just an homage to that time where making a movie that feels like that, then why not set it there?…And part of the reason that every filmmaker likes to do things, period, is so you don’t have to deal with fucking technology in movies, because it’s so frustrating.”

“So there’s a bunch of reasons, but there’s something else.  like the handmade feel of those movies back then. And we tried to kind of inject that. Being that we were going basically no CGI, which doesn’t mean none, there’s obviously some world building we’ve done, but there’s some real handmade quality to those films in the late-‘70s and ‘80s that I just always loved, I’m sure.”

Response to the movie's message has been divisive, but the Golden Lion award win and high praise for Phoenix's performance have Joker right in the thick of any Oscars discussions.  The film finally opens to the rest of us on October 4th.