Joker just recently left the top ten at the box office after hitting theaters in October. We're still learning about what went on behind-the-scenes to make the movie happen and Todd Phillips just revealed an interesting tidbit. Apparently Joaquin Phoenix never really said "yes" to the project. The actor has always been cagey about taking on a comic book movie because he was concerned about the mechanics behind making those movies and he had the same feelings before signing on for Joker.
From the start, Joker was promised to be something different from the usual comic book movie. Joaquin Phoenix stated that the movie was going to be more of a character study than anything else, which is exactly what it turned out to be. When Phoenix and Todd Phillips were discussing what the movie should be, the actor never fully agreed to be in it. Phillips explains.
"It was a pursuit to get him because initially it feels like, 'ugh, comic book movie.' Just the idea of it is something he wasn't so keen on pursuing, and even when I would explain to him it's not that, it kind of says that, but really we're doing this other thing, there was a little resistance. But the more I got to know him, the more I hung out with him, and we spent a lot of time talking about what the movie will look and feel like, and then one day he magically showed up. He never said yes. He just one day showed up to a wardrobe fitting...It was an incredible partnership."
It sounds like Todd Phillips put in the work to get Joaquin Phoenix on board for Joker. The director previously stated that he never had any other actor in mind for the part and that it was written for Phoenix. So, one can see why he went out of his way to sell his vision while also asking for collaboration at the same time. It sounds like it was an ideal situation for both men as they set out to make something outside the normal realm of comic book movies.
When it comes to making big superhero movies in the DC and Marvel universes, there's a lot of pressure and secrecy. However, that was not the case with Joker. Todd Phillips shared images and video of Joaquin Phoenix right from the start and they shot out in the open on the streets of New York. This meant that a flood of set images hit the internet on an almost daily basis, while Phillips continued to share his own official images.
Joker was made for a fraction of what a normal comic book movie costs to make and it paid off in a major way. Joker crossed the $1 billion mark and is still making money at the box office. While Joaquin Phoenix never really said "yes" to Todd Phillips, he's more than likely happy that he agreed to come on board. Now, is a sequel really going to happen? We'll just have to wait and see. The interview with Todd Phillips was originally conducted by IndieWire.