The twisted DC Comics origin story Joker has already made $1.05 billion at the box office, but Warner Bros. Pictures appears to be making one last big push. Director Todd Phillips announced that Joker is returning to IMAX screens for one week only, starting today, giving people a chance to see Joaquin Phoenix lose his damn mind on the biggest screen possible. Read More »
Joker is a huge hit, probably headed towards several Oscar nominations, and just became the first R-rated movie to cross $1 billion at the worldwide box office. That’s the kind of attention studios thrive on, and want more of. And sure enough, after weeks of speculation, it looks like a Joker sequel is officially happening. Director Todd Phillips pitched Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich on an idea to develop Joker-style origin stories for multiple DC character, and while Emmerich didn’t fully go for the idea, Phillips did get the rights to develop a film on at least one character. Meaning Phillips is now working on both a Joker sequel (which will likely bring back Joaquin Phoenix) and another Joker-influenced DC origin film.
Update: Deadline is saying THR is incorrect, and that “Multiple sources said no such October 7 meeting between Phillips and Emmerich occurred, and that Phillips hasn’t even considered overseeing other DC character films.” So who is correct here?
Update #2: Variety decided to get in on the action now, too. They say the original story is half-true: Warners is exploring a sequel with Todd Phillips, but nothing has been finalized and no scripts are currently being written. As for the report of a separate DC character origin film? That’s false, at least according to Variety. The original story continues below
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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.
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Director Todd Phillips and his longtime cinematographer Lawrence Sher knew their latest film, Joker, would have more eyes on it than usual. But neither expected the runaway success train it has become, winning a prestigious Venice Film Festival award, making over $740 million at the worldwide box-office, and attracting awards heat for its star, Joaquin Phoenix.
Sher, who’s an economics major with a background in still photography, has been working with Phillips since the Hangover trilogy. Before the duo’s first collaboration on that hit series, Sher shot Garden State and I Love You Man, to name just a few. This year, he played on a huge, beautiful canvas with Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and was able to make a comic book movie that’s a throwback to the ’70s and the Martin Scorsese movies that made him want to be a cinematographer in the first place. It’s a big year for Sher, who recently talked to us about some of Joker‘s most memorable sequences, working with Joaquin Phoenix, and the line between fantasy and reality in the movie.
This interview contains major spoilers for Joker.
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Joker may end up taking the #3 spot at on the box office charts this weekend, but it stayed at the top for two weeks before that, and it’s already raked in over $619.5 million worldwide. People can’t stop talking about Todd Phillips‘ grimy, twisted origin story for Batman’s arch nemesis, for better or worse, and the awards buzz for the DC Comics movie is high. But if Suicide Squad star Jared Leto had his way, no one would have seen the movie at all.
Reportedly, when news broke of a Joker origin story in the works from Todd Phillips at Warner Bros. Pictures, Jared Leto tried to stop the movie from getting made. Not only did he ask his agents at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to stop the movie before it ever got off the ground (his agents just so happened to represent Phillips too), but he even went so far as to ask his 30 Seconds to Mars music manager Irving Azoff at Full Stop Management to call the head of TimeWarner/Warner Media and pull the plug on the movie. Read More »
Right around the time Joker hit theaters, star Joaquin Phoenix revealed that the movie had some “radical changes” to the script that took place throughout production. Now, thanks to director Todd Phillips, we have an idea of how the Joker bathroom scene in particular was changed significantly from the original script. In fact, this change made the scene infinitely better, because the original scene in question was a lot more ham-fisted than what ended up in theaters. Read More »
(Welcome to Role Call, where we examine two performances from an actor – their first defining role and their most recent/last – to get a sense of who they are.)
Joaquin Phoenix has been playing the Joker for a long time.
As the awkward romantic Leonard Kraditor in Two Lovers. As the lonely, optimistic Theodore Twombly in Her. As the morally ambiguous bruiser Bruno in The Immigrant. There’s also the scorned, disrespected monster Commodus in Gladiator, the sick puppy dog Freddie Quell in The Master, and the vacant, delusional version of “Joaquin Phoenix” who stared and stuttered his way through emerging hip-hop fame in I’m Still Here.
All of these puzzle pieces are present in his version of DC’s most infamous bad guy.
Usually in this column, we explore how Angela Lansbury went from gorgeous ingenue to globally respected murder-solver, but Phoenix’s career shifted slightly different than everyone else’s. While a lot of other stars evolve by broadening how we see the scope of their talents, Phoenix has deepened. His talent has a singular focus. In a word, “troubled.”
As in, more often than not, reviews of his movies include the phrase, “Joaquin Phoenix plays a troubled…” A troubled philosophy professor. A troubled club manager. A troubled WWII veteran. A troubled hit man. A troubled performer. The best – “a troubled soul,” from one description of The Master – sums up his career in just three words.
While Phoenix has stayed focused, the movie industry has evolved around him to take him from supporting actor to troubled leading man. Let’s look at how far he’s come from a laugh in 1995 to a signature cackle in 2019.
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The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.
In this edition, run through a bunch of Easter eggs you might have missed in Pixar Animation’s surprisingly great sequel Toy Story 4. Plus, watch a trailer mash-up of Joaquin Phoenix‘s roles in the recently released Joker and the sci-fi romance Her, and be amazed as Big Mouth co-creator and voice star Nick Kroll improvises voices for seven new cartoon characters on the spot. Read More »
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A great comic book villain isn’t living up to his or her potential without a proper musical theme, and in the case of Joker, he gets one courtesy of composer Hildur Guðnadóttir. Her score for Joker is chillingly good and up there with the best of the genre, with an intensity matching and complimenting Joaquin Pheonix‘s performance. Again, the Emmy-winning composer behind Chernobyl elicits intense feelings of horror and uneasiness, although she laughs when people – including myself – tell her that her music has a horror quality to it. “It’s definitely very common that my music is perceived as darker than what I am feeling myself,” she told us, laughing. In her view, her music is more reflective than horrific.
Prior to Joker, Guðnadóttir has produced several albums of her own (which you should listen to on Spotify), performed cello on The Revenant and several other films all movie nerds know, and collaborated frequently with the deeply missed Johan Johansson (Arrival). After playing cello on Sicario, years later she was composing the music for its sequel, Day of Soldado. Now, she’s scored her first big comic book movie, and she told us all about her experience, her collaboration with director Todd Phillips‘, and the movie’s stunning final piece, “Call Me Joker.”
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On the October 7, 2019 episode of /Film Daily, /Film editor-in-chief Peter Sciretta is joined by /Film managing editor Jacob Hall and writer Chris Evangelista to have a spoiler-filled discussion about Joker.
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