The Peoples Joker, Unauthorized Trans Batman Movie, Dropped from TIFF Over Rights Issues

“The People’s Joker,” an unauthorized movie set in the Batman universe that reimagines the Joker via a trans origin story, has been pulled from the Toronto International Film Festival over “rights issues.” This is according to a message posted on the festival’s ticketing page for “The People’s Joker,” informing attendees that all forthcoming screenings of the movie would be canceled.

The message on TIFF’s website reads, “The filmmaker has withdrawn this film due to rights issues. We apologize for any inconvenience. Current ticket holders will receive an email from TIFF Customer Relations with information on their purchase.”

Directed by Vera Drew, “The People’s Joker” is not licensed by DC or Warner Bros. IndieWire has reached out to representatives for the film, the festival, and Warner Bros. for further comment.

The movie, per an official synopsis, follows “an unfunny aspiring clown who, after years numbing herself with irony and an inhalant called Smylex, grapples with gender identity, first love, and old foes all while founding an illegal comedy theater in Gotham City. This heartfelt and absolutely bonkers film features the work of 200 independent artists on three separate continents, all made during a global pandemic!”

Chicago-born, Los Angeles-based director, editor, and writer Vera Drew also stars in the film, which was programmed at the festival as part of its Midnight Madness lineup.

The film first screened on Tuesday night to positive reactions but all following screenings — including Wednesday and Saturday public presentations and a Thursday morning press and industry screening — have been canceled. UTA is repping the movie in Toronto.

Per Variety, Canadian Press said on Wednesday that during the post-screening Q&A, Drew talked about editing scenes from Todd Phillips’ 2019 “Joker” out of “The People’s Joker” that she had included.

Warner Bros. Discovery and Todd Phillips are meanwhile at work on their own return to the Joker universe, with the sequel “Joker: Folie à Deux,” going into production later this fall. The movie reunites the director with Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix in the title role, and this time he’s joined by the likes of Brendan Gleeson, Catherine Keener, and, of course, Lady Gaga.

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