For nearly twenty years, we’ve seen plenty of superhero origin stories make their way to the big screen. However, super-villain origins are a much rarer thing. Next year, director Todd Phillips aims to change that with Joker, an original, standalone look at the birth of one of the most iconic comic book villains ever created.

Starring Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix in the title role, along with Oscar winner and acting legend Robert de Niro, Deadpool 2’s Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp (Red Sparrow), Frances Conroy (American Horror Story, Castle Rock) and more, principal photography on the highly anticipated new movie has now begun. Joker promises to be a gritty character story and broader cautionary tale that strikes a different tone from DC’s other 2019 movies, Shazam and Wonder Woman 1984.

Over the weekend, Phillips shared the first image from the production, a portrait shot of Phoenix in his pre-Joker guise.

Phoenix’s character is named Arthur Fleck, a man utterly disregarded by society. However, other than that, we don't know a lot at this point. Phillips and his crew are being mum about story details, so we’ll have to wait until we’re a bit closer to release to learn more about what sets Arthur on his path to becoming the Clown Prince of Crime. (Though you're welcome to speculate all you'd like in the comments below.)

The screenplay for Joker is co-written by Phillips (The Hangover trilogy) and writer Scott Silver (The Fighter), and based on characters from DC. It’s being produced by Phillips and Bradley Cooper under their Joint Effort banner, and Emma Tillinger Koskoff.  It's executive produced by Richard Baratta, Joseph Garner and Bruce Berman.

No joke, you can expect to hear a lot more about this one here on over the year ahead. In the meantime, let us know what you think about this first look, and about Batman's biggest baddie finally getting his due!