Vera Drew, the filmmaker behind a queer coming-of-age movie set in the Batman universe known as The People's Joker, has pulled the movie from the Toronto International Film Festival after just a single screening over alleged “rights issues.”
The mixed-media comic book satire follows an aspiring clown (played by Drew) struggling with her gender identity while dreaming of being cast in a TV sketch show among a cast of Jokers and Harlequins.
The film, which contains multiple references to the Clown Prince of Crime and other Batman-related properties, was reportedly pulled after Warner Bros served a cease and desist to both TIFF and Drew due to copyright infringement.
This is obviously very disappointing for the creative team behind the film, though it probably shouldn't have come as too big a shock when the trailer proudly proclaims the project to be “an illegal comic book movie about a transgender clown named Joker.”
The official synopsis from TIFF reads: “With comedy criminalized in Gotham City, the show is the only government-sanctioned space for funny people, but only those who will toe the party line. Disillusioned by a botched audition, Vera partners with a birdlike slacker to found their own alternative comedy troupe, attracting not only a rogues’ gallery of would-be comics, but also the ire of a fascistic caped crusader.”
You can check out the teaser trailer below.
The People's Joker will not be screened for the TIFF judges, but since it played at the Midnight Madness segment of the festival, it is still eligible for the People’s Choice Midnight Madness award.