A mentally ill comedian takes the first steps toward becoming Batman’s most maniacal adversary in the final trailer for “Joker,” Todd Phillips’ upcoming DC Comics-inspired thriller starring Joaquin Phoenix and Robert De Niro.
The clip begins with Arthur Fleck (Phoenix) riding a bus through Gotham City. The sad-sack outcast tries lifting a young boy’s spirits by making a silly face, but it only leads to getting yelled at by the kid’s mom. Nothing’s going right for Arthur—thugs beat him up in an alleyway, talk-show host Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro) roasts him on TV, and even his shrink wants nothing to do with him.
But cracks begin to show in the eventual supervillain’s congenial veneer. “You don’t listen, do you?” Phoenix’s character tells his psychiatrist (above). “You just ask the same questions every week: ‘How’s your job? Are you having any negative thoughts?’ All I have are negative thoughts.”
All the mental and physical anguish Arthur endures will eventually lead him down a very dark path, and by the trailer’s end he’s devolved into something else entirely. “When you bring me out, can you introduce me as Joker?” he tells De Niro’s character after a montage of mayhem, violence, and plenty of face paint.
Produced by Phillips, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, and repeat Stern Show guest Bradley Cooper, the 1981-set film co-stars Zazie Beetz as Phoenix’s potential love interest and Dante Pereira-Olson as a young Bruce Wayne as well as Frances Conroy, Bill Camp, Wrap Up Show veteran Shea Whigham, and past Stern Show guest Marc Maron.
“Joker” premieres at the 76th Venice International Film Festival on Aug. 31 before arriving Oct. 4 in theaters. Watch the final trailer (above).