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Ever since Todd Phillips’ Joker first screened at the Venice Film Festival to sky-high acclaim last month, the name on everyone’s lips has been Joaquin Phoenix. His performances in Oscar-nominated films such as Her and Walk the Line have stunned before, but when expectations are at “masterpiece” and Best Actor frontrunner, there’s something special about what he’ll do next.
Beginners was Mike Mills’ breakout film and famously scored an 82-year-old Christopher Plummer his first (and only) Oscar win. In it, Plummer played an elderly father to Ewan McGregor’s character who learns he has terminal cancer and a young male lover. Christopher Plummer’s role was based on Mills’ own relationship with his father, just as Annette Bening’s 20th Century Women role had roots in his own mother.
Perhaps Mike Mills’ upcoming movie with Joaquin Phoenix will continue the filmmaker’s likeness with themes of family dynamics as well? Plot details have been kept underwraps but producers Chelsea Barnard, Lila Yacoub and Andrea Longacre-White are all on board, via Deadline.
Chelsea Barnard recently produced Booksmart along with Phoenix’s other recent projects including The Sisters Brothers and Her. Yacoub worked on projects including Eighth Grade, Lady Bird and Moonrise Kingdom and Longacre-White produced 20th Century Women with Barnard.
A24 has frequented the award season circuit in recent years with Best Picture winner Moonlight and Brie Larson’s Best Actress win for Room. Mike Mills also scored the studio a nomination for Best Original Screenplay for 20th Century Women. This year, A24 will release contenders such as Waves, Uncut Gems and The Lighthouse following the positive buzz for Lulu Wang’s The Farewell and Ari Aster’s Midsommar earlier this year.
Joaquin Phoenix has been given early praise for his disturbing role as Arthur Fleck in Joker, which tells a unique origin story of the comic book villian without connections to the DCEU or reliance on the source material. Despite its expected $100 million opening weekend, director Todd Phillips doesn’t plan to make more than one film centering on Phoenix’s Joker.
Joker won the Golden Lion award, the highest prize at this year’s Venice Film Festival. It boasts a 75% “fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes ahead of its release. CinemaBlend’s own gave the film a near-perfect 4.5 out of 5 score in his review, calling Joaquin Phoenix’s performance “disturbingly natural."
Joaquin Phoenix has framed his career on dramatic roles, so his upcoming Mike Mills’ film is business as usual after this more high-profile role in Todd Phillips’ Joker, which will hit theaters on October 4.