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Robert De Niro’s Role In “Joker” Connected To Earlier Scorcese Film Character

Fans who paid attention in the latest trailer for Joaquin Phoenix’s “Joker” movie may have noticed one of the supporting characters in the film. Robert De Niro appears as a television show host, but it turns out this character may be a callback to an earlier film he did with Martin Scorcese.

You can De Niro in the trailer at around 1:54 for a few quick moments as this character.

The name of the character is Murray Franklin, and many are noting that since the film takes place in 1981 that there could be a link between “Joker” and Scorcese’s 1982 film “The King of Comedy”, where he played a mentally deranged comedian named Rupert Pupkin.

De Niro confirmed this connection with Indiewire, saying, “There’s a connection, obviously, with the whole thing, but it’s not as a direct connection as the character I’m playing being Rupert many years later as a host.”

While the ending of “The King of Comedy” has Pupkin landing his dream job before being carted off to jail, this is what separates that role from Franklin in “Joker”. The character is not a direct continuation, but very much in the spirit of Pupkin – what could have happened if he really made it.

De Niro added that it could have actually been Pupkin as the role instead of Franklin, “If they would’ve proposed that to me, I would’ve said, ‘That’s interesting, maybe we’ll try to do that,’” De Niro said. He also said that by making a film like this, “it is connected in a way, as you’ll see.”

Some parallels have already been made with “Joker” in relation to another Scorcese film, “Taxi Driver”. It’s clear that this new iteration of the Clown Prince of Crime has been influenced by the look of movies from that era, and that Phoenix’s Joker has elements derived from a character like Travis Bickle, so I look forward to seeing how these pieces meld in a very ambitious DC movie.

“Joker” hits theaters on October 4.

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Put On A Happy Face! First Teaser Trailer Arrives For “Joker”

Smile, the first teaser trailer for Warner Bros. new DC Comics movie “Joker” is finally here!

Directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker, the movie is about Arthur Fleck, whose rapid descent into insanity is juxtaposed to his clownish demeanor. What happens when a perfectly nice guy is pushed over the edge?

“Joker” seems to be exploring that, making the character sympathetic in some ways, but also very reminiscent of Robert DeNiro’s performance in Martin Scorcese’s classic “Taxi Driver”. This is a Travis Bickle Joker, with a lot of complexities that don’t make him 100% a villain at the start of the movie, but it sure seems like he is going to be over 9000 by the end.

Check out the teaser trailer for “Joker” below:

Phoenix’s performance as The Joker may rival Heath Ledger’s from “The Dark Knight”. It’s very chilling and nuanced, and very unique from how Ledger played the part, but I get the feeling it will be just as compelling.

He may not be the “Clown Prince of Crime” just yet, but it looks like he will be getting there pretty quickly in this very creepy and disturbing trailer.

“Joker” hits theaters on October 4, 2019.

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