Brendan Gleeson Joined The Joker Sequel Because He's Just A Big Joaquin Phoenix Fan

There's nothing quite like the messiness surrounding Todd Phillips "Joker." Is it the "Taxi Driver" of our generation, offering a nuanced look at trauma and mental illness, maybe a cautionary tale of who we praise? Is it a cheap knock-off that misses the point entirely? No matter how innocently you ask, you're sure to get an outpour of passionate answers (to put things mildly).

While we don't know too much about "Joker: Folie à Deux," the forthcoming sequel, things are shaping up to be just as chaotic. Despite the first movie's somberness, the sequel will apparently be a musical set primarily in the Arkham Asylum (here's to hoping that Phillips takes inspiration from "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" this time around). But it wasn't the film's content that inspired "Harry Potter" franchise co-star Brendan Gleeson, to join the sequel's cast. Despite the cold apathy of "Joker," the "Tragedy of Macbeth" actor had a surprisingly wholesome reason for signing onto the franchise: He was really excited to reunite with Joaquin Phoenix.

A match made in The Village

Horror fans might recall that "Joker: Folie à Deux" isn't the first project to bring Phoenix and Gleeson together. That honor belongs to M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village," in which Phoenix played a distraught son desperate to save his mother, and Gleeson played a father in mourning. As it turns out, the experience of working together left a mark on Gleeson, and once he saw "Joker," he was even more blown away by the actor behind the Clown Prince of Crime:

"I worked with Joaquin before on The Village... And so I knew him from then. And that performance, I'm still in awe of it. That performance as Joker, in that first movie, It was one of the most extraordinary achievements I've ever [seen]. And for Todd to have worked the movie around to allow for that, I didn't have to be asked twice. I really didn't."

It's no understatement to say that Phoenix has built a bit of a reputation as an enigma. While he's famously gotten into fights on-set and resists memorizing all of his lines, fellow actor John C. Reilly has vouched that he's also quite "shy" and friendly once you get to know him. There's no doubt that Phoenix can certainly have his more tumultuous moments, but the fact that Gleeson was willing to sign on to a film just to work with him again is certainly a sign that the "Joker" star is a rewarding collaborator.

Who's up for some music?

Regardless of why they signed up for the film, there's one central question that's burned into my mind as the "Joker" sequel continues to announce its star-studded cast: Who's going to sing? Sure, as the movie's protagonist, Phoenix is nearly guaranteed to belt out a tune or two, as he's done before when playing Johnny Cash in "Walk the Line." On a similar note, it'd be a shame to cast Lady Gaga in a musical only for her to avoid singing. But is there a chance that Brendan Gleeson might get a song of his own? If we're really dreaming, since Gleeson signed up for "Joker: Folie à Deux" to collaborate with Phoenix, could we get a duet between them, even if it's only a few lines long?

However unlikely a musical collaboration might be, I'm holding out hope. After all, Gleeson is no stranger to duets, and by positioning itself as a musical, the "Joker" sequel already seems to be interested in experimentation. Only time will tell how many risks Todd Phillips is willing to take.