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Joaquin Phoenix in Joker

If you watched the credits for Joker carefully, you may have seen a name you didn’t expect: Bradley Cooper. The actor helped produce the blockbuster film, though up until this point he’s remained somewhat quiet about it. And in a featurette for the film’s home release, he explains how he got involved.

Joker: Vision & Fury details the making of Todd Phillips’ dark opus, and includes interviews with the cast and crew, including Bradley Cooper.

According to ComicBook.com, the actor explains that he came on board as a producer for Joker after speaking to the director:

Todd called me and said, ‘I have this crazy idea for this sort of alternate version of DC, and the first one is the origin story of Joker. I thought, ‘This is just so bold.’

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Bradley Cooper also reveals that he was working with Todd Phillips on Joker two years before the film hit theaters, and even before Joaquin Phoenix was cast. Cooper says that he fully believed in Phillips’ vision for the film:

To take, probably, the most famous two-dimensional villain who we’ve watched just wreak havoc in so many forms — whether it’s the comic book, a television series, or various films — to say, ‘Okay, what happens if we humanize this person? And let’s see what could be the possible causes.’

While Bradley Cooper’s participation behind the scenes may be a surprise, it makes more sense when you remember that the actor has collaborated with Joker’s director on the Hangover franchise. In Joker: Vision & Fury, he says that he respects Todd Phillips’ intelligence and uncompromising dedication to his craft:

His willingness to just go outside of any boundary and tell the story that he wants to tell, it’s very hard to put him in a box. I mean, the first thing he did was a documentary about GG Allin. And I think once you become notable as a comedic director, a lot of people definitely see you as just that. But I’ve always known he’s an auteur.

That passion for his vision helped make Joker one of the most divisive films of the year. Some feel it is a masterpiece, and others find it to be unnecessarily dark and violent. The controversy surrounding Joker, as well as a dedicated fanbase, helped propel it to an incredible $1 billion run at the box office. And while the details of his contract are understandably private, it’s safe to assume that as producer, Bradley Cooper has raked in some serious cash as a result of the film’s success.

Joker is already available to stream on some platforms. The film, along with its special features, will be released on Blu-ray on January 7, 2020.