With Joker being lauded by viewers after the film's screening at the Venice Film Festival, director Todd Phillips has discussed further the 70's influences and inspirations that have led to this quite different take on the Clown Prince of Crime, as well as a quite different comic book movie altogether.
While speaking at the Venice Film Festival press conference, Phillips opened up once again about the character study ideals that he wanted to replicate with Joker. Taking his cues from such old school flicks as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and, quite clearly, The King of Comedy, Phillips has taken more than a page from Martin Scorsese's book to create his R-rated DC film.
"There's a ton of specific inspirations we had for this movie. Taxi Driver, obviously, is one of my favorite movies, but it's not directly that. I think it's more a time period of movies."
These time period movies that Todd Phillips alludes to, other than those from Scorsese's back catalogue, include such classics as Sideny Lumet's Serpico and Milos Forman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, both cited by the director as examples of character studies of the past, the kind of which they just don't make anymore. Until Joker, of course. Hey, if you're going to take, may as well take from the best.
"Movies from these great character studies that they don't do as much nowadays as they did in the late '70s, whether it was Cuckoo's Nest, or Taxi Driver, or Serpico, or Raging Bull, of course, King of Comedy. Marty was doing a ton back then. And even things like The Man Who Laughs [from 1928]. I mean, we were watching a lot of musicals, [co-writer] Scott [Silver] and I, when we were writing [Joker]."
Before Joker undoubtedly makes him a household name, Phillips is known for his comedic The Hangover trilogy, though he doesn't feel that the psychologically dark nature of of his comic book adaptation is too much of a departure for him, particularly with such classic influences holding so firm in his mind.
"It's different tonally than a lot of films I've done before, but ultimately to me, it's kind of all storytelling, it's all a beginning, middle and an end. But I was definitely influenced by the movies that I grew up on, these great character studies of the '70s. And kept thinking, 'Well, why can't you do a genre film in the comic book world like that, and really do a deep dive on a character like Joker?' And if you get a great actor and great people behind it, we could really do something special."
Phillips clearly wants Joker to wear it's influences proudly, and from everything that has come out of the Venice screening he seems to have certainly achieved his goal of creating 'something special'. Well, we can all judge for ourselves when the film hits screens on October 4th. This was originally posted by Labiennale.