joker script

When it comes to making movies, it’s common for certain scenes to be rewritten during filming. Sometimes, films will even start shooting without a finished script (see: most of the Mission: Impossible sequels). But it looks like Todd Phillips‘ Joker script took things to the next level, with the entire film being rewritten during filming. Is this for the best, or a sign that the film could possibly be in trouble?

We still don’t know a whole lot about the upcoming Joker origin movie starring Joaquin Phoenix. And apparently, the people making the movie were in the same boat. According to co-star Zazie Beetz, the entire Joker script, which was co-written by director Todd Phillips and Scott Silver, was constantly being rewritten, sometimes on shooting days. Speaking with MTV News, Beetz said:

“The script was great. We rewrote the whole thing while we were shooting it. Literally, we would go into Todd’s trailer and write the scene for the night and then do it. During hair and makeup we’d memorize those lines and then do them and then we’d reshoot that three weeks later.”

So, uh…is this good, or bad? Beetz says “the script was great”, so that certainly suggests the rewrites turned out well. Still, it’s a little surprising to learn that the entire movie was undergoing rewrites during production. That’s often the sign that a film is in bad shape, and needs quick retooling. That could be bad news for Joker, or it could mean that the rewrites really nailed things down, and resulted in the best film possible.

I remain cautiously optimistic about the Joker movie. Phoenix is one of the best actors working right now, and I’m very curious to see what he does with the role. Still, one would assume that the whole reason Phoenix took the job to begin with is because he liked the script…which was then entirely changed.  I guess we’re just going to have to wait and see if it was all for the best.

Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy and Shea Whigham, will laugh its way into theaters on October 4, 2019.

Joker centers around the iconic arch-nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. The exploration of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.

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