The arrival yesterday of the first trailer for Todd Phillips’ “Joker” film has caused much chatter and discussion in its wake, along with countless comparisons to some of Scorsese’s early masterpieces – most notably his pitch-black satire “The King of Comedy”.
Robert De Niro starred in ‘King’ as Rupert Pupkin, a mentally-deranged wannabe comedian who grew up poor and neglected, was bullied in his youth, and whom becomes obsessed with famed comedian and talk show host Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis) – going so far as to kidnap him and leveraging that into a stand-up routine opening Langford’s show.
“Joker” features some callbacks from Joaquin Phoenix wearing the same jacket De Niro’s Pupkin character wears, to the trailer showing De Niro himself playing a TV host named Murray Franklin who introduces Joker on stage. Talking with Indiewire in the wake of that trailer release, De Niro spoke about the connection:
“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… But by making this type of film, it is connected in a way, as you’ll see.”
De Niro reportedly added that he would have been interested in making a direct “The King of Comedy” connection had Todd Phillips and the producers made the suggestion to him on the set. “Joker” is coming to cinemas on October 4th.