Studio Heads Originally Wanted Much Less Joker In Joker
Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix's Joker is currently high-kicking its way up the metaphorical staircase toward the magical $1 billion box office, with its global takings currently standing somewhere north of $853 million.
Not bad at all. But according to Joker insiders, the studio bosses on Joker were originally wary of having Joker actually be about Joker at all. They'd been planning on giving the previous Joker, Jared Leto, a spin-off Joker film, and wondered if this Joker needed to have quite so much Joker in it. We can all see what's wrong with that idea, right? What jokers.
"Warner Bros had already been planning to mount a different standalone Joker movie plotted around Jared Leto’s iteration of the clown crime kingpin who’s showcased in Suicide Squad," they told Vulture. "So maybe, some of the executives reasoned, Phillips’s origin story could set up a character who audiences would understand is based on the Joker, but who isn’t literally the Joker. Couldn't he be some kind of peripheral figure instead?"
Which seems quite mad now, given how well everything's gone. But some fans reckon that that might actually be the case with Joker: that Phoenix's Joker isn't the Joker, but a spiritual forebear who starts a series of dominoes collapsing. That's certainly what Phillips himself told the LA Times recently. It's an interesting theory, and one we'd be happy to see expanded upon. Just as long as Jared Leto is kept well away.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.