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The People’s Joker: Everything We Know About the Queer Coming-of-Age Movie

The first still from the film The People's Joker

Queer coming-of-age movie The People’s Joker is getting a theatrical release soon. Here’s everything we know about the film!


Forget about the Joker sequel: another movie is coming to theaters soon, and it’s a queer coming-of-age parody that reimagines the Joker’s origin, from trans writer-director-star Vera Drew and co-written by Bri LeRose. The film is called The People’s Joker, and Altered Innocence has just acquired it for distribution, which means that we will get to watch it in theaters soon too. From plot and characters to release date and more, here’s everything we know about The People’s Joker!


Plot: What is The People’s Joker About?

The People’s Joker is an absurdist comedy that’s autobiographically-inspired for Vera Drew. The movie revolves around an unfortunately unfunny aspiring clown named Joker the Harlequin (Vera Drew), who’s grappling with gender identity. In the movie, there’s only one comedy program in Gotham City, as comedy as a whole has been banned. Which means that things are even more complicated for Vera. And so, our favorite antihero puts together a team of misfits to form an illegal anti-comedy troupe. Needless to say, this will put her face to face with the caped crusader.

The Cast of The People’s Joker

The People’s Joker has a fantastic cast of popular actors! Vera Drew, Lynn Downey (Daisy Jones & The Six), Nathan Faustyn and Kane Distler are the main stars. There are also cameos from Tim Heidecker, Bob Odenkirk, Maria Bamford and Scott Aukerman. 

The People's Joker: Everything We Know About the Queer Coming-of-Age Movie
The People’s Joker (Altered Innocence)

Will The People’s Joker Be a Good Movie?

We haven’t seen the movie yet, but the great news is that first reactions have been positive, so it probably will be! The film had its World Premiere at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival in the Midnight Madness section, and then headed to Outfest LA Film Festival, where it won an award. It then played at Fantastic Fest, Denver Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Seattle Queer Film Festival, Oslo/Fusion International Film Festival, SXSW Sydney, Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and more. It won more awards at some of these festivals, and the Seattle Queer’s jury praised its “unapologetically rebellious and iconoclastic spirit”.

The reviews have also mainly been positive, with Jude Dry of Indiewire calling it “a genuinely moving story of self-acceptance, self-love, and the inspiring act of an artist stepping into her power.” Peter Debruge of Variety praised the authenticity in Drew’s story, inspired by her own journey as a trans woman and artist. Though there aren’t many reviews out there yet, the film is currently 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

The People’s Joker Release Date

Los Angeles-based distributor Altered Innocence has acquired North American distribution rights for the movie today. The film will have a theatrical release in select US theaters on April 5, 2023, with a first screening at IFC Center in New York City. A release date in the U.K. has not been announced yet, but additional markets will be added soon.


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