First photo of Joaquin Phoenix in Joker sequel released

Shooting for the anticipated film, which also stars Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn, has started

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Writer and director Todd Phillips has shared a teaser for Joker: Folie a Deux, the sequel to the 2019 thriller drama blockbuster Joker, with his Instagram followers.

Phillips posted an image on Saturday of Academy Award winner Joaquin Phoenix, shirtless and resting his head on a towel over a sink as his face is getting shaved. Phoenix, seemingly in character in the shot, appears to have lost weight for the role, as he stares up at the ceiling with a glazed and haunting expression, ribs visible.

“Day 1. Our boy. #joker,” Phillips captioned the dramatically lit image.

The photo and caption are confirmation that the highly anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed movie has finally begun filming after years of plot speculation and development.

Upon its release in 2019, Joker earned more than $1 billion worldwide, creating a huge global fan base and dividing many critics over the film’s portrayal of mental illness.

Phoenix's performance as the Joker was wildly praised and earned him the Best Actor Award at the 92nd Academy Awards in 2020.

The origin story of one of the most popular DC supervillains has previously been played by a number of actors.

Jack Nicholson took on the role in Tim Burton's 1989 film Batman, Australian actor Heath Ledger played a much darker version in Christopher Nolan's 2008 film, The Dark Knight, and Jared Leto also attempted to add a menacing side to the character in Suicide Squad in 2016.

It was Ledger's performance specifically that changed the public's perception of the Joker from a comical caricature to a deeply disturbed individual and won the actor a posthumous Oscar in 2009.

While plot details of the highly anticipated sequel remain unknown, the title Folie a Deux, which translates to shared delusion or madness for two, is a clue that the story of Arthur Fleck, who transforms into the menacing Joker, will pick up after he’s been admitted to Arkham Asylum.

Lady Gaga is set to join Phoenix for the sequel where she has been cast to play the DC comic villain Harley Quinn, first popularised in film by Margot Robbie in Suicide Squad and Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.

Joker: Folie a Deux is scheduled to be released on October 4, 2024.

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Updated: December 11, 2022, 9:35 AM