Todd Phillips‘ Joker film – the standalone origin story starring Joaquin Phoenix that no one can seem to figure out whether it looks amazing or terrible – has added another interesting name to its already eclectic cast. THR reports that Alec Baldwin has signed on to play Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s father.
As Batman fans know well, Thomas and Martha Wayne were gunned down in front of Bruce when he was just a kid, setting him on his path to fighting crime and becoming Batman. This being an origin story, set in the past, it stands to reason that Thomas would still be alive. Whether featuring him as (presumably) a prominent character is a good idea is another question altogether.
Yet, even stranger, the THR report states that “sources say the script paints Thomas Wayne as a cheesy and tanned businessman who is more in the mould of an 1980s Donald Trump“, which, if true, is a very weird decision.
Not only has Thomas not ever been presented in that vein in any Batman story in the past, but it sounds like this casting of Baldwin is almost a nudge-nudge inside joke just because Baldwin portrays Trump on Saturday Night Live.
Plus, is it even important that the Joker knew, or somehow interacted with, Batman’s father? Is Baldwin going to be hamming it up like it’s a sketch show? It all sounds like an excuse to make the film relevant, while also cramming in another character that audiences sort of know, even though Thomas Wayne has never been someone people have been clamouring to discover more about.
This project remains very strange. Along with Baldwin, just look at this cast: Phoenix, Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro, Marc Maron, and Frances Conroy. Supposedly this is a gritty crime tale in the vein of Taxi Driver and The King Of Comedy, but it’s looking less clear each passing day.
It’s possible that all this comes together and Phillips is actually crafting a masterpiece right before our eyes. It’s commendable that the film looks to have the freedom to do pretty much anything, probably because whatever kind of film it is, it will likely make money since it anything related to the Joker will always be popular.
But right now, there are a lot of skeptical people out there wondering if this is going to be a trainwreck, or an interesting failure, or surprisingly good. All possibilities are on the table right now. And one could argue that’s exciting.
Filming on Joker is due to begin on Monday, September 10, and the film is scheduled to hit cinemas on October 4, 2019.