Douglas Hodge

Just because the movie is called ‘Joker’ doesn’t mean that fans won’t get a healthy dose of Batman-lore.  It was already known that Brett Cullen (‘The Dark Knight Rises’, ‘Narcos’) had been cast to play Thomas Wayne, the father of Bruce and the former boss of Penny (Frances Conroy), the mother of the movie’s lead character Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix).  It was just announced that Dante Pereira-Olson has been cast as Bruce Wayne, himself.  Now comes word that Douglas Hodge will portray the Waynes’ butler, Alfred Pennyworth.

While it is believed that Thomas Wayne has an important role in the movie, it’s unclear just how much of Bruce and/or Alfred viewers will get.  The fact that ‘Joker’ has been filming for weeks now and these parts are just being cast probably indicates that they just make cameos.

Hodge has had a lengthy career, mainly in his native England.  He has most recently appeared in the Amazon series ‘Catastrophe’, the ‘Black Museum’ episode of ‘Black Mirror’ (season 4, episode 6), in the Francis Lawrence/Jennifer Lawrence spy thriller ‘Red Sparrow’ and on the US TV series ‘Elementary’.

This is the second bit of Alfred casting news in just over a week.  Jack Bannon was just announced as playing the famous butler on the upcoming EPIX series ‘Pennyworth’, which focuses on the character in the 1960s when he was fresh from serving in the British SAS.

The cast of ‘Joker’ also includes Zazie Beetz, Bryan Callen, Bill Camp, Glenn Fleshler, Marc Maron, Josh Pais, Shea Whigham, and Robert DeNiro.  The film is set in the 1980s and will chronicle Arthur Fleck’s descent from a struggling stand-up comic into the twisted criminal mastermind of legend.

The film, directed by Todd Phillips, will reportedly be set in the 1980s and will emulate the gritty style of films like ‘Taxi Driver’ and ‘Raging Bull’.  The budget is reportedly a modest $55 million.

Phoenix recently discussed the film, saying:

“I wouldn’t quite classify this as like any genre.  I wouldn’t say it’s a superhero movie, or a studio movie or a … It feels unique, and I think more then anything, and probably the most important thing, is Todd seems very passionate about it and very giving, and so that’s exciting. I think, underneath the excitement of these films, and the size of them, there are these incredible characters that are dealing with real life struggles. And sometimes that is uncovered and exposed, and sometimes it isn’t, and so I always felt, like, there were characters in comics that were really interesting and deserve the opportunity to be kind of studied. And so I think that’s what Todd sees appealing about this idea.”

‘Joker’ is scheduled to open on October 4, 2019.