Joker Director Spent a Year Convincing Executives of Film's Vision

If the response to its first two trailers is any indication, it looks like audiences are excited to see what Warner Bros. has in store for Joker. The film will be an R-rated standalone entry separate from the established DC Films universe -- and it sounds like those circumstances might have created some unique behind-the-scenes complications. In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Joker director Todd Phillips revealed that it took a full year to convince the studio that the movie's gamble would pay off.

“It was a year-long process from when we finished the script just to get the new people on board with this vision, because I pitched it to an entirely different team than made it,” Phillips revealed. “There were emails about: ‘You realize we sell Joker pajamas at Target.’ There were a zillion hurdles, and you just sort of had to navigate those one at a time.... At the time I would curse them in my head every day. But then I have to put it in perspective and go, ‘They’re pretty bold that they did this.’”

Joker will follow Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a failed stand-up comedian who descends into madness, reinventing himself as the villain in a corrupt Gotham City. The film's two trailers, the second of which was released on Wednesday, have showcased the unique approach the film will be taking to a relatively-mysterious part of DC canon.

“The movies that I grew up loving, these character studies from the ’70s, you couldn’t get those movies made in this climate,” Phillips continued. “I said to myself, ‘What if you did a movie in that vein, but made it about [comic book] characters?’”

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“We didn’t follow anything from the comic-books, which people are gonna be mad about,” Phillips explained in a previous interview. “We just wrote our own version of where a guy like Joker might come from. That’s what was interesting to me. We’re not even doing Joker, but the story of becoming Joker. It’s about this man.”

Upcoming DC movies include Joker on October 4th, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020, The Batman on June 25, 2021, The Suicide Squad on August 6, 2021, and Aquaman 2 on December 16, 2022.