From the moment he was introduced in the pages of 1940’s Batman #1, The Joker was established as one of Batman’s most colorful enemies, and it didn’t take long for him to become cemented as the Caped Crusader’s arch-nemesis. So naturally the majority of the villain’s appearance in other media has been tied to Batman, including Barry Keoghan cameoing as The Clown Prince of Crime in 2022’s The Batman. But in 2019, Joker was giving a movie of his own starring Joaquin Phoenix as the title character and no Caped Crusader in sight (though Dante Pereira-Olson did play a young Bruce Wayne).
Between scoring accolades like winning two Academy Awards and becoming the first R-rated movie to cross $1 billion, there’s no question that Joker was a tremendous success. So while it had originally been intended as a one-off movie, talks began of making a sequel, and by summer 2022, Joker 2, a.k.a. Joker: Folie Á Deux, was officially confirmed to be moving forward. Among the things we know about Joker 2 is who’s in the cast, so let’s go over Lady Gaga and the other actors who will be joining Joaquin Phoenix in this upcoming DC movie.
Joaquin Phoenix’s version of The Joker was originally Arthur Fleck, a clown and aspiring stand-up comedian who suffered from a neurological disorder causing him to uncontrollably laugh at inopportune times. The series of events that unfolded in Joker, including losing his job, having his medication taken away, discovering how his mother had lied to him and him killing a trio of drunken businessmen after they attacked him, Arthur turned his back on society and became the nihilistic Joker. His first order of business: murdering talk show host Murray Franklin on live television.
Although the police car carrying Arthur away was intercepted by the rioters inspired by Arthur’s actions, we later saw him being held at Arkham State Hospital. He’ll continue to be there when we reunite with him in Joker 2, with most, if not all of the sequel being set at the mental institution. However, the vibe at Arkham we’ll be a lot different than it was in the first movie, but before going over that, we need to talk about Joaquin Phoenix’s leading lady.
The last several years have seen Lady Gaga make a splash in the acting world with A Star is Born and House of Gucci, and now she’s lending her performing talents to the comic book movie space. At the start of August 2022, Gaga confirmed that she would appear in Joker 2, and while it still hasn’t been officially confirmed who she’s playing, Nearly every sign is pointed towards Harleen Quinzel, a.k.a. Harley Quinn. This would make Gaga the second actress to play the character in a live-action movie, with Margot Robbie having already made three Harley appearances in the DC Extended Universe.
Assuming Lady Gaga is indeed playing Harley Quinn in Joker 2, it makes sense. She is usually depicted as a psychiatrist at Arkham who falls in love with The Joker and becomes his partner-in-crime, so it’s easy enough to throw her into Arthur Fleck’s life. Also, the Folie Á Deux subtitle, which translates to “madness of two,” refers to a collection of psychiatric syndromes where a delusional belief or even hallucination can be passed from one person to another. Sounds pretty apt for a woman who embraces her lover’s warped view of reality and starts dressing like a clown, yeah? Finally, Joker 2 will reportedly be a musical (which is one of the reasons it has a much bigger budget than what the first movie received), and we all know how romance stories thrive through song and dance.
During Joker, it looked like Arthur Fleck found a little happiness through dating Sophie Dumond, a single mother who lived in his apartment building. However, it was later revealed that Zazie Beetz’s character only knew Arthur from occasionally seeing him from down the hall, and that his moments with her earlier in the movie were a delusion. Joker was Beetz’s second comic book movie, having previously played Domino in Deadpool 2, and she’s also well known for Atlanta, Invincible, The Harder They Fall and Bullet Train. With Beetz returning for Joker 2, does this mean Sophie will visit Arthur at Arkham for some reason, or could he be hallucinating again, this time as part of one of the sequel’s musical numbers?
Now we come to the other new people along for the ride in Joker 2. First up is Brendan Gleeson, who Harry Potter fans will recognize as Alastor “Mad Eye” Moody. If you’re not enamored with the Wizarding World franchise, you probably know Gleeson from movies like In Bruges and The Banshees of Inisherin, or maybe you caught him playing Winston Churchill in the TV film Into the Storm or Bill Hodges in the short-lived TV series Mr. Mercedes. It’s been reported that Gleeson is “likely” to play someone tied to Arkham in Joker 2, like a security guard or the warden. If it’s either of those two positions, there’s a good chance that Gleeson’s character time with Arthur Fleck won’t end well.
Catherine Keener has also come aboard Joker 2 in what’s been described as a “major role,” though no other details have surfaced yet. Keener is a two-time Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress nominee for her performances in Being John Malkovich and Capote. Her other notable credits include The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Into the Wild, Get Out, The Adam Project and the Showtime series Kidding. I could see Keener playing a therapist who works alongside Harleen Quinzel at Arkham, but time will tell whether that is indeed the case.
Jacob Lofland made his film debut in the 2012 Matthew McConaughey movie Mud, and that was followed a few years later by him starring as Aris in two of the Maze Runner movies and recurring as Kendal Crowe on Justified. You may also remember Lofland for playing the young version of Eli McCullough on Piece Brosnan’s short-lived AMC series The Son. According to THR, Lofland will appear in Joker 2 as an inmate at Arkham who forms a relationship with Arthur Fleck, but it’s unclear if this will be a twist on an established Batman rogue from the comics or a brand-new character.
Joker 2 will be Harry Lawtey’s fourth movie, having previously appeared in City of Tiny Lights, Benediction and The Pale Blue Eye. In the TV realm, you may have seen him in the short-lived Netflix series The Letter for the King or on HBO’s Industry, where he plays Robert Spearing. It’s safe to say that Joker 2 is Lawtey’s biggest project yet, so it’s good that his role is reportedly a “big one.”
Joker 2 will arrive in theaters on October 4, 2024, five years after its predecessor came out. Keep your eyes peeled for more additions to the sequel’s cast and new details about the characters.
Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.
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