If the worst part about watching Joker was that you were left wanting more of Joaquin Phoenix as the Clown Prince of Crime, you can take some comfort knowing that Joker 2 is definitely possible. While no plans for a sequel are currently in the works, the critical and financial success of the movie certainly allows for the possibility. Opening up about playing the iconic role on Popcorn with Peter Travers, Phoenix shed some light on what it was like to become Batman's arch-nemesis.
When asked by Travers if playing the Joker was a "dream role" for him, Joaquin Phoenix suggests it turned out to be that way after he signed on and open to reprising the role in a follow-up movie. From the interview:
"I wouldn't have thought this was my dream role, but now, honestly, I can't stop thinking about it. I talked to Todd a lot about what else we might be able to do - in general, just working together, but also, specifically, is there something else with Joker that might be interesting? So, it ended up being a dream role."
Let's not start holding our breath just yet. "I don't know that there is [anything more to do with Joker]," Phoenix also says in the interview. This suggests he's open-minded to reprising the role in another movie, but only if the right idea comes along. As for Phillips, the filmmaker doesn't seem quite as optimistic about seeing a Joker sequel happen, clearly stating in an interview that a follow-up just wasn't in their plans.
However, if the demand for it was there and the folks at Warner Bros. were also interested in continuing the story, Phillips admits he's ultimately open-minded about developing a potential sequel one day. "If he was willing to do it, and if people show up to this movie, and Warner 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 confessed.
Directed by Phillips using a screenplay co-written with Scott Silver, Joker presents an all-new backstory for the iconic supervillain. This version of the character introduces Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, a clown for hire and failing stand-up comedian who's come to be down on his luck in Gotham City. One unfortunate event leads to another which results in Arthur's transition from a shy loner into a demented, face-painted murderer. Along with Phoenix, the movie also stars Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, and Brett Cullen. As it serves only to tell the story of the Joker specifically, Batman only appears in the movie as a young Bruce Wayne, years away from becoming the savior of Gotham City.
Joker has proven itself to be a tremendous hit with critics, boasting mostly positive reviews despite its troubling content. It's also a big winner at the box office, pulling in nearly $100 million during its opening weekend and smashing records in the process. Still, controversy continues to swirl concerning the movie's violent content, and it remains to be seen just how much this will affect the movie's chances for recognition at the Oscars. Whatever ends up happening, most people seem to agree that Phoenix deserves a Best Actor nod at the event at the very least.
Who knows if we'll ever see an official sequel, but on its own, Joker seems to be one of 2019's most must-see movies, even if it's leaving some members of the audience feeling disturbed. The portrayal of the character by Phoenix in particular is certainly worth the price of admission alone. For one reason or another, the movie definitely has a lot of people talking. You can watch the interview with Phoenix below, courtesy of Popcorn with Peter Travers on YouTube.