VIDEO: Joaquin Phoenix Puts on a Happy Face in ‘The Joker’s’ First Teaser

Robert De Niro and Zazie Beetz co-star in Todd Phillips’ Oct. 4 film

Fox’s Batman-inspired drama “Gotham” is winding down, but for the Dark Knight’s most infamous foe things are only getting started.

On Wednesday, Warner Bros. released the first teaser for Joaquin Phoenix’s standalone supervillain film “The Joker.” Unlike 2016’s “Suicide Squad,” a DC Comics team-up movie featuring Jared Leto as a fully realized version of the Joker, Todd Phillips’ upcoming “Joker” film is a character study of a tortured man slowly descending into madness who eventually embraces a life of violent crime.

“My mother always tells me to smile and put on a happy face. She told me I had a purpose: to bring laughter and joy to the world,” Phoenix’s character Arthur Fleck, a.k.a. the Joker, says over imagery of him getting beat up in a clown outfit.

While “The Joker” is set long before Bruce Wayne (Dante Pereira-Olson) becomes Batman, the teaser does highlight Bruce’s father Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen), who is not only still alive in this story but also happens to be running for mayor of Gotham City.

Produced by Phillips, Emma Koskoff, and repeat Stern Show guest Bradley Cooper, the movie is reportedly inspired by two classic Martin Scorsese-Robert De Niro movies about men going mad: “The King of Comedy” and “Taxi Driver.” Fittingly, De Niro co-stars in “The Joker,” too, along with Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Bill Camp, Wrap Up Show veteran Shea Whigham, and past Stern Show guest Marc Maron.

“The Joker” takes the stage on Oct. 4.

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