Joaquin Phoenix's Joker
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Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

First poster for Joaquin Phoenix's Joker movie asks us to 'put on a happy face'

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Jan 17, 2020, 1:51 PM EST (Updated)

Ahead of the first trailer release tomorrow, Warner Bros. dropped the initial poster for Todd Phillips' Joker origin movie, which stars Joaquin Phoenix in the central role of Arthur Fleck. While pretty sparse in terms of its imagery, the poster does achieve several things at once.

For one, we get the first tagline: "Put on a happy face," a phrase that perfectly describes the famous Batman villain (who will also be showing up in the series finale of Gotham — there's he's played by Cameron Monaghan — on Fox in a few weeks' time).

For another, we see Phoenix is his full clown makeup, looking up (almost beseechingly) at something we can't see. In this regard, the poster gives off some serious Pagliacci vibes, helping turning the Joker into a tragic and relatable hero, instead of just an insane foil for the Caped Crusader. That's an absolute imperative when he's the main focus of the story.

And finally, the text of the title itself is slightly faded and cracked, a direct parallel to Fleck's debilitating mental state as he transforms into one of the most beloved comic book bad guys of all time. 

Check it out below:

Joker poster

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Co-written by Phillips and Scott Silver, Joker boasts a very impressive supporting cast: Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Josh Pais, and Shea Whigham.

In particular, De Niro will be playing a late-night comedy host in a role directly inspired by his character of Rupert Pupkin in Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy (1982).

Set in the early '80s of Gotham City's history, the film follows Phoenix's Joker-to-be as he tries and fails to make a career out of comedy. When that falls through, he turns to a life of law-breaking and never looks back, slowly yet effectively cementing his feared place as Gotham's Crown Prince of Crime.

Produced by Bradley Cooper, the movie laughs its way into theaters everywhere Oct. 4.

What are you hoping to see in the teaser trailer tomorrow? Let us know in the comments below!