Back in October, Jared Leto learned the cold hard truth that people really do still want to see movies about The Joker (just not ones starring him). Todd Phillips’ gritty, greasy Joker broke a bunch of box office records, which in Hollywood accounting terms means it will probably be getting a sequel. There’s word that the sequel will have Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker meeting Batman. And it’s rumored that one of the names being thrown around for Batman is Ryan Gosling.
Even though Martin Scorsese thumbed his nose at Marvel, claiming their loud and proud superhero explosion fests don’t meet the bar of “Cinema”, The Hollywood Reporter says that Martin was once attached to Joker, and a source claims he had even considered directing it himself at some point. Turns out we might have Martin to thank/blame for drumming up so much interest in a standalone Joker movie that it actually happened. And unfortunately, the list of casualties in Joker’s wake include more than just your poor strained eyeballs when you heard about Todd Phillip‘s inability to write comedy and Joaquin’s Phoenix‘s extreme dieting and on-set pranks. Jared Leto’s feelings were also hurt!
During Joaquin Phoenix’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last week, Jimmy Kimmel played an outtake shot during filming of Joker, in which serious actor Joaquin tears a verbal strip off “Larry,” the film’s cinematographer. Jimmy said the clip came from Joker director Todd Phillips. In the clip, Joaquin condescendingly accused Larry (aka Lawrence Sher) of constantly whispering during takes, and nicknaming a diva-ish Joaquin “Cher.” If you watched that video and felt like it was written, directed, and produced by a company called Viral Celebrity Tantrums Inc., you’d be correct. Larry spilled the beans to Business Insider, saying it was a prank.
Joker is making news today, and thankfully it’s not for the reason people were nervous about leading up to the premiere last Friday. Reports from the weekend’s box office are in, and it looks like the only negative press Warner Bros. has to deal with is whatever yikes-worthy shit comes out of Todd Phillips or Joaquin Phoenix’s mouths. Because Joker broke a bunch of records and made a ton of money.
While some poor intern at Warner Bros. is typing out their 1,945th statement begging moviegoers to remember that Arthur Fleck in Joker is unquestionably the villain of the movie, Joaquin Phoenix is saying “Okay, but…is he?” with an elfish grin. The police and the military are now involved with this mess, so clearly Joaquin hasn’t read the room, because he recently pushed the whole poor, misunderstood greasy-looking murderer narrative during an interview with Vanity Fair.
Ever since the reviews for Joker first started pouring in, there have been two general opinions: that it’s probably going to be nominated for several Oscars, and that there are some fucked-up “awww, poor Joker” undertones. And of course that’s just a little dangerous, considering how fired up some assholes get when they start to confuse who’s the villain and who’s the hero. In 2012, James Holmes shot up a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises at a Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Twelve people died, with many, many injuries reported, and Holmes was reportedly a big fan of the Batman franchise. So naturally, people are a little concerned that this most recent version of The Joker might be seen as sympathetic, misunderstood, or justified in his actions.
Some families of the victims of the Aurora shooting have recently written a letter to Warner Bros., to express their concern over the violence in Joker, as well as how Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker appears to have gotten a sympathetic character treatment. Warner Bros. has responded with a message, and it’s that Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker is still very much the bad guy.