Joker 2 has not yet been officially announced, but it seems like an inevitability at this point. The first film is already the most successful R-rated movie of all time, and though star Joaquin Phoenix admits that part of the attraction to making the first movie was that it was a “one-off,” he started getting sequel fever only a couple of weeks into filming.
In a recent interview, Phoenix said that he asked the on-set photographer to shoot him in character so they could mock up fake sequel posters to convince director Todd Phillips that Joker could conceivably be inserted into several different types of films. Some of the movies they chose to put Joker into are…well, let’s just say unexpected.
Speaking with The L.A. Times via Indiewire, the actor explained that he started to feel an itch to further explore the character of Arthur Fleck early into making the first film:
“Long before the release or before we had any idea if it would be successful, we talked about sequels,” Phoenix said. “In the second or third week of shooting, I was like, ‘Todd, can you start working on a sequel? There’s way too much to explore.’ It was kind of in jest — but not really.”
But he wasn’t content to simply float that half-joke and leave it hanging in the air. He and the on-set photographer took things a step further.
“I basically said, ‘You could take this character and put him in any movie,'” Phoenix said. “So I did a photo shoot with the on-set photographer and we made posters where I photoshopped Joker into 10 classic movies: ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ ‘Raging Bull,’ ‘Yentl.’ If you see it, you’re like, ‘Yeah, I’d watch that movie.’ ‘Yentl’ with Joker? That would be amazing!”
He has a point, folks: Yentl, the 1983 Barbra Streisand romance about a woman who dresses like a man in order to be educated in the Jewish faith, would indeed be “amazing” if the Mother Effing Joker were inserted into that story. That’s just undeniable. Raging Bull seems relatively uninspired more Scorsese?, but a Joker horror movie in the vein of Rosemary’s Baby could be interesting. Now I’m desperate to know what those other classic movies were.
One thing’s for sure: when a sequel does get announced, don’t expect Arthur Fleck to shift from the troubled failed stand-up we saw in the first movie to a criminal mastermind capable of going toe to toe with Batman. As Phoenix tells it:
“We’ve only talked about the fact that if we ever did one — and I’m not saying we are because right now we’re not — it couldn’t just be this wild and crazy movie about the ‘Clown Prince of Crime.’ That just doesn’t interest us. It would have to have some thematic resonance in a similar way that this does.”
Joker is still in theaters, and will almost certainly be a part of the Oscar conversation for the next few months.
Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix have gone back and forth on the idea of a “Joker” sequel, but a followup film is unquestionably on Warner Bros.’ minds now that the original has grossed over $930 million worldwide and could be headed above the $1 billion mark. Phoenix confirmed in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times part of the draw of the “Joker” role was that it was a “one-off” and it wouldn’t bind him to a years-long franchise.
“I guess the fear was that you'd get locked into doing something repeatedly that you don't really care about, that doesn't motivate you or excite you,” Phoenix said. “Part of the whole attraction to me [of 'Joker'] was there was no expectation. I didn't sign a deal to do [more movies]. It was a one-off.”
And yet, Phoenix says the idea of sequel didn’t take long to manifest. “Long before the release or before we had any idea if it would be successful, we talked about sequels,” Phoenix said. “In the second or third week of shooting, I was like, 'Todd, can you start working on a sequel? There's way too much to explore.' It was kind of in jest — but not really.”
Phoenix said that he “wouldn't just do a sequel just because the first movie is successful,” but if an exciting idea can be crafted then he would reprise the role. During the production of “Joker,” Phoenix asked the on-set photographer if he would shoot him in character so they could create mock sequel posters in a “tongue-in-cheek” attempt to show director Todd Phillips the possibility of another movie.
“I basically said, 'You could take this character and put him in any movie,'” Phoenix said. “So I did a photo shoot with the on-set photographer and we made posters where I photoshopped Joker into 10 classic movies: 'Rosemary's Baby,' 'Raging Bull,' 'Yentl.’ If you see it, you're like, 'Yeah, I'd watch that movie.' 'Yentl' with Joker? That would be amazing!”
What Phoenix’s poster stunt hints about a “Joker” sequel is that it would have a wildly different tone than what Phillips presented in the current smash hit. “Joker” was inspired by gritty 1970s character studies such as Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver.” It seems like Phoenix would want a sequel to have drastically different cinematic reference points.
“We've only talked about the fact that if we ever did one — and I'm not saying we are because right now we're not — it couldn't just be this wild and crazy movie about the 'Clown Prince of Crime,'” Phillips told the Times about a sequel. “That just doesn't interest us. It would have to have some thematic resonance in a similar way that this does.”
“Joker” is now playing in theaters nationwide. Head over to the Los Angeles Times’ website to read more from Phoenix.
Three years on and we're still talking about Suicide Squad. This was one of the earlier entries in what has been dubbed the DCEU. Directed by David Ayer and released in August 2016, it was a financially successful, critically panned, divisive movie that served to frustrate many people on various levels. Not the least of whom is Ayer, who has shared some of his frustrations in a new Instagram post.
David Ayer sharing frustrations over the fate of Suicide Squad is nothing new, but this is a bit more revealing. Ayer shared a previously unreleased photo of Jared Leto's Joker and Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, while discussing the fate of his DC Comics adaptation. In the post, Ayer strongly suggests his original vision for the movie didn't line up with what Warner Bros. released in theaters. Here's what he had to say about it.
"Movies are fragile. They are like dreams, haunting moments that run from your vision. They have their own logic and truth. If you change the destination after the trip is complete is it still the same journey? The spine of Suicide Squad was Harley's journey. In many ways it was her movie, her escaping her relationship with Joker was the major emotional through line. A director holds an invisible compass in their hands. It guides every shot, every performance. That compass points to the desintation [sic]. If the desintation changes did the journey even happen?"
While this is all very vague, the implication is that David Ayer didn't make the version of Suicide Squad he wanted. This begs a potentially frustrating question; is there an "Ayer cut" of the movie sitting around at Warner Bros. just waiting to see the light of day? Or could one be assembled from what was shot?
This question would only serve to frustrate certain DC fans. As has been discussed ad nauseam over the past two years, Zack Snyder's vision for Justice League was thrown out by the studio when Joss Whedon was brought in to finish the movie, leading to massive rewrites and reshoots. As such, the so-called Justice League Snyder Cut, which, by many accounts, does exist in some form or another, has become something of a white whale for those who want to see what could have been. Is it possible a similar situation exists with Suicide Squad?
That's a question that may never be answered. James Gunn is currently filming The Suicide Squad, which will be a soft reboot of sorts. Suicide Squad, despite poor reviews from critics, went on to earn a massive $745 million at the global box office, making it a huge success from a financial standpoint. Who knows? Maybe they'll let David Ayer release a director's cut on HBO Max. Just don't hold your breath. Be sure to check out the post from David Ayer's Instagram.
, , ] HomeMovie NewsSuicide Squad Director Takes Swipe at His Own Movie, Shares Unseen Joker Image
When word of a stand-alone Joker movie first broke, rumor had it that Martin Scorsese was going to be producing. That ultimately didn’t happen, but as it turns out, Scorsese did consider working on the project – but ultimately passed. In the filmmaker’s own words, he “did not have time for it”, and also ultimately decided the material just wasn’t his cup of tea.
Welcome to week 4000 of people talking about Martin Scorsese and comic book movies. Scorsese kicked off a somewhat silly firestorm this year when he announced that he did not consider superhero movies to be “cinema.” Almost immediately, fans – especially Marvel Cinematic Universe fans – took Scorsese to task, daring to ask why one of our best living filmmakers didn’t care for Thor: The Dark World.
To his credit, Scorsese has attempted to clarify some of his statements in the wake of the fallout. And as it turns out, he came pretty close to producing a comic book movie of his own – Joker. In the BBC video above, the legendary director talks a bit about his potential Joker involvement, describing how he circled the project for four years.
“I know the film very well,” Scorsese said via IndieWire. “I know [director Todd Phillips] very well. My producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff produced it. I thought about it a lot over the last four years and decided I did not have the time for it. It was personal reasons why I didn’t get involved. But I know the script very well. It has a real energy and Joaquin [Phoenix]. You have remarkable work.”
In addition to just not having time for the film, Scorsese also added that he ultimately had some issues with the script:
“For me, ultimately, I don’t know if I make the next step into this character developing into a comic book character. You follow? He develops into an abstraction. It doesn’t mean it’s bad art, it’s just not for me…The superhero films, as I’ve said, are another art form. They are not easy to make. There’s a lot of very talented people doing good work and a lot of young people really, really enjoy them.”
To me, that sounds like Scorsese very diplomatically saying, “The script isn’t that great.” And you know what? He’s right. I gave Joker a positive review, but the film’s biggest flaw is its script, which is lazy and owes a huge debt to Scorsese’s films The King of Comedy and Taxi Driver. I’d say Joker as a film ultimately works despite its script, not because of it.
In any case, I hope we can all focus on the fact that Scorsese calls superhero films “another art form”, and that they’re just not his type of movie. That’s a reasonable statement, and one worth respecting. Now let us all move on and never speak of this again.
“I didn’t want to be too influenced by the comic book, because the whole point of the movie is to be first a movie, and to be different. Different from Batman, different from Spider-Man – this movie has its own identity.” That could be Todd Phillips talking about Joker, his billion-dollar grossing movie that may wind up with an Academy Award nomination, if not nominations. But nope, it’s Pitof, who… Wait. Who the heck is Pitof?
He’s the guy who directed Catwoman, which did not make a billion dollars and wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. But it did win Least “Special” Special Effects at the 2005 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards! Catwoman is among the worst comic book movies ever, and it was a notorious dud at the box office, earning a mere $82 million on a $100 million budget. It’s notorious for another reason, too: Catwoman was the first Batman villain slash anti-hero love interest to get a spin-off movie; she was also the only until Joker.
That’s not where the connections between Catwoman and Joker end, though.
Over on Instagram, Phillips shared behind-the-scenes pictures from Joker, including pics of Joaquin Phoenix smoking a cigarette, Robert De Niro doing his best Robert De Niro face, and Arthur Fleck’s medical condition card. “I have LOTS more and will post soon as people seem to be digging them. #Joker is everywhere,” he wrote. Take a look at the eighth image — it shows Arthur’s scribblings in his journal, with the word “step” repeated dozens of times and a picture of a scantily-clad woman riding a cat next to a half-cat, half-woman. Phillips has said that he doesn’t “do” Easter eggs “Any Easter eggs anybody finds is a mistake”, but it can’t be a coincidence that the not-Halle Berry feline-human is using a ball of string like it’s a bullwhip, Catwoman’s preferred weapon.
Have a look for yourself.
View this post on Instagram
Some more random BTS pics from the movie. This first one was from our makeup test before we started shooting. I have LOTS more and will post soon as people seem to be digging them. #Joker is everywhere. Again, thanks for ALL the messages. Very touching. All
By now, you’re aware that Martin Scorsese isn’t a Marvel Studios aficionado and he’s not alone among directors, but he hasn’t lodged any “theme park” criticism towards Warner Bros./DC movies. So his problem isn’t really with comic-book movies as a whole, and that distinction is bolstered by Scorsese performing a long and arduous weighing on whether to be substantially involved with the Joaquin Phoenix-starring Joker. Obviously, Scorsese’s name wasn’t attached to the film upon release, not even as a producer, although he considered jumping into the project for four years.
Now that Joker’s made all the money and might even hit $1 billion globally, Scorsese’s wound down his MCU criticism long enough to volunteer information on why he didn’t go full Joker on what he now calls “remarkable work.” He possibly could have even directed before Todd Phillips signed on, but this is what Scorsese told the BBC via IndieWire:
“I know the film very well. I know [director Todd Phillips] very well. My producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff produced it. I thought about it a lot over the last four years and decided I did not have the time for it. It was personal reasons why I didn’t get involved. But I know the script very well. It has a real energy and Joaquin. You have remarkable work.”
Everything turned out alright. Scorsese’s got The Irishman on the way, and Phillips created a significant work of art. He’s still even dropping intriguing BTS photos on Instagram, which we wouldn’t be receiving from Scorsese as director. Besides, the movie might have been too-Scorsese-for-Scorsese, given that it heavily references Taxi Driver, both thematically and aesthetically. Also, we probably don’t want to open that alternate dimension where Scorsese mainstay Leonardo DiCaprio starred as Arthur Fleck in an origin story for a character later played by Jack Nicholson. That definitely would have been way too weird for comfort.