JOKER stars Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, a failed stand-up comedian who is driven insane and becomes the psychopathic criminal mastermind known as the Joker. The upcoming Todd Phillips film certainly has people talking, with some even calling the film a “cinematic achievement on a high level.” It remains to seen just how the general audience will take to JOKER, but Todd Phillips told Total Film that a sequel is always a possibility if the box-office/critical reception is there to back it up.
One thing I will tell you: I would do anything with Joaquin, any day of the week. There’s nobody like him. If he was willing to do it, and if people show up to this movie, and Warners came to us and said, ‘You know what? If you guys could think of something…’ Well, I have a feeling that he and I could think of something pretty cool.
Phillips also added that while some have seen it that way, JOKER is “not meant to be political” but rather “provocative” instead. “I think there will be some 21-year-olds that go and watch it who just think it’s a version of a Joker story. And that’s fine, too,” Phillips continued. “I don’t want to define it as this message movie, because it’s not. But it definitely is, the same way that The Dark Knight was not a message movie, but it definitely was a post-9/11 terrorist sort of ‘Oh shit…’ thing.“
Joaquin Phoenix came close to the world of comic-book movies before he finally agreed to do one, and admits to Total Film (via Uproxx) that he had “a lot of fear” about taking the role of the Joker, but added that there’s two types of fear: “Motivating fear and debilitating fear. There’s the fear where you cannot make a f*cking step, and there’s the kind where it’s like, ‘OK, what do we do? That’s not good enough.’ And you’re digging deeper and deeper. I love that kind of fear. It guides us, makes us work harder.” The actor also expained what finally led him to accept the role.
I think oftentimes, in these movies, we have these simplified, reductive archetypes, and that allows for the audience to be distant from the character, just like we would do in real life, where it’s easy to label somebody as evil, and therefore say, ‘Well, I’m not that.’ And yet we all are guilty. We all have sinned. And I thought that here was this film, and these characters, where it wouldn’t be easy for you as an audience. There are times where you’re going to feel yourself connected to him, and rooting for him, and times when you should be repulsed by him. And I like that idea of challenging the audience, and challenging myself to explore a character like that. It’s rare to explore characters like that in any movies, but specifically in the superhero genre.
JOKER will hit theaters on October 4, 2019.