The film, which acts as an origin story for the Joker, is set in 1981 and follows Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a failed stand-up comedian who turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City.

Joker is a psychological thriller film directed by Todd Phillips, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scott Silver, based on DC Comics characters. A mentally ill, impoverished stand-up comedian disregarded by society, whose lack of success causes him to become a nihilistic criminal. Prior to Phoenix's casting, Leonardo DiCaprio had been considered.