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‘Joker’ Director Todd Phillips Already Eyeing Sequel: ‘If Joaquin Phoenix Is Willing to Do It’

Although developed as a standalone film, a sequel and DC Universe crossover aren't completely out of the question.

"Joker"

“Joker”

Warner Bros.

Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker origin story movie will not open for another two months, but director Todd Phillips is already thinking about a potential sequel to the much-anticipated film; at least, as long as the first one performs well at the box office.

Speaking with Total Film (via sister publication GamesRadar), Phillips said: “One thing I will tell you: I would do anything with Joaquin Phoenix, 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.”

While “Joker” was developed as a standalone movie and not necessarily part of the DC extended universe (DCEU) of films, if the $55 million film is indeed a critical and commercial hit, that could certainly provide all the motivation Warner needs to greenlight a sequel. Additionally, the possibility that this Joker could very well join the DCEU down the road, could be a mighty appealing crossover for the studio and fans. For example, could he eventually face off against the just as buzzy Robert Pattinson’s Batman?

The film is already generating awards season hype ahead of its release, and just might surprise at the Academy Awards. Stops at the Venice International Film Festival (where it will premiere) and at the Toronto International Film Festival afterward — both “Oscar buzz” generators — only further spurs discussion of the possibility.

Described as a psychological thriller based on the DC Comics character of the same name, the film is set in 1981, and follows Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), a failed stand-up comedian who is driven insane and turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City.

Inspired by Martin Scorsese’s films, “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull,” and “The King of Comedy,” Phillips co-wrote the screenplay with Scott Silver. Scorsese was actually attached to produce early in production, but had to exit the project due to other obligations.

While the film’s premise is said to be similar to Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s graphic novel “Batman: The Killing Joke” (1988), Phillips has made it clear that his film does not “follow anything from the comic books,” adding, “We’re not even doing Joker, but the story of becoming Joker.” Rather, he said the film uses elements of Joker lore to produce an original story.

Joining Phoenix in front of the camera are Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, and Frances Conroy.

The R-rated “Joker” will premiere at the 76th Venice International Film Festival on August 31, 2019, and is scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on October 4, 2019.

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