Joaquin Phoenix Made A Wonderfully Creative Argument For A Joker Sequel

Joaquin Phoenix in 'Joker'

With the global success of Joker, it’s only natural to wonder what’s next for the character -- and if there’s any chance we’d ever see Joaquin Phoenix put on his signature clown paint again. It’s hard to imagine how the film’s director, Todd Phillips, could pick up from the film’s haunting ending and continue the story. But that didn’t the film’s star from devising a creative way to try to convince him to make a sequel.

Joaquin Phoenix has been one of Joker’s staunchest defenders. And it seems that he’s always been game to revisit the role. He told the Los Angeles Times:

Long before the release or before we had any idea if it would be successful, we talked about sequels. In the second or third week of shooting, I was like, ‘Todd, can you start working on a sequel? There’s way too much to explore.’ It was kind of in jest -- but not really.

If it was a joke, it was an elaborate one. During production on Joker, Joaquin Phoenix would leave little hints to Todd Phillips about what the future could have in store for his character.

I basically said, ‘You could take this character and put him in any movie.' So I did a photo shoot with the on-set photographer and we made posters where I Photoshopped Joker into 10 classic movies: Rosemary’s Baby, Raging Bull, Yentl ... [laughs] If you see it, you’re like, ‘Yeah, I’d watch that movie.’ Yentl with Joker? That would be … amazing!

Joaquin Phoenix’s on-set antics may have been enough to get Todd Phillips to seriously consider continuing the Joker’s story. Phillips told The Los Angeles Times he definitely remembered the Yentl poster, and one for Forrest Gump, and another for his own previous movie The Hangover. He continued on the topic if a potential sequel:

We haven’t talked about it a ton. We’ve only talked about the fact that if we ever did one — and I’m not saying we are because right now we’re not — it couldn’t just be this wild and crazy movie about the ‘Clown Prince of Crime.’ That just doesn’t interest us. It would have to have some thematic resonance in a similar way that this does.

The director isn’t sure it’s possible to recreate the unique set of circumstances that made Joker so successful. But he has given it some thought:

I think that’s ultimately why the movie connected, outside of all the noise and mishegoss of the last month and a half. I think the reason why it’s resonating is what’s going on underneath the movie. So many movies are about the spark, and this movie is about the powder. If you could capture that again in a real way, that would be interesting.

In the meantime, fans of the film can still revel in its ongoing success. Joker is now the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time and it's reaching another box office milestone this weekend.

Katherine Webb