Joker Origin Movie Will Reportedly Show Character as a Bullied Kid With a Permanent Smile

Warner Bros. is developing a movie telling The Joker’s origin story, and it sounds like the film may be going back to his childhood to depict him as a bullied kid.

At least, that’s according to actor and former MMA fighter Brendan Schaub, who recently appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. As originally observed by Batman News, when the topic of the Joker movie came up, Schaub chimed in to say that he shares an agent with director Todd Phillips, and he indicated that he knows a bit about the movie as a result.

“It’s dark,” Schaub said. “It’s like a dark Joker, like how as a kid he had a permanent smile and everyone made fun of him, and it’s like on the streets of Brooklyn. It’s super dark and real. I can’t wait.”

Deadline reported last week that the intention here is “to make a gritty and grounded hard-boiled crime film set in early-’80s Gotham City that isn’t meant to feel like a DC movie as much as one of Scorsese’s films from that era, like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull or The King Of Comedy.” But this tidbit from Brendan Schaub about it showing the character as a bullied kid is brand new. Of course, the information should be taken with a grain of salt, and the movie is so early in its development that even if Schaub’s rumor is accurate, it might not end up happening on screen.

The upcoming Joker origin story movie isn’t actually a part of the DC Extended Universe, and it therefore will not star Jared Leto. This is instead a completely separate film being produced under a new Warner Bros. banner intended to tell standalone stories based on DC comics. Todd Phillips (The Hangover) is directing, and Phillips also wrote the script with 8 Mile‘s Scott Silver. Martin Scorsese serves as producer. The Joker has not yet been cast.

Jared Leto as the Joker

Jared Leto as the Joker in Suicide Squad | Source: Warner Bros.

Separately from this, Warner Bros. is also producing a Joker spinoff movie that does take place in the DC Extended Universe and will star Jared Leto. But instead of being an origin story, this one focuses on The Joker’s romance with Harley Quinn, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Leto’s Joker will also return in Suicide Squad 2.