Joker director Todd Phillips expects another iteration of the character to headline future movies because the clown prince of crime can be “infinitely interpreted.”
“What we’re trying to do with this film is do something entirely different from the comic book movies that have come before. And not because those aren’t cool but just because we want to try something different,” Phillips told AP News. “But this won’t be the last Joker movie ever made. Something tells me that in 10 years someone else is going to do something.”
“There have been five iterations of this character already, and they’re all brilliantly unique,” Phillips continued. “This is one more group’s interpretation of a character that can be infinitely interpreted.”
For his part, star Joaquin Phoenix admitted he was not influenced by past takes on the iconic DC Comics villain, most famously portrayed by Jack Nicholson in 1989’s Batman and Heath Ledger in 2008’s The Dark Knight.
“For me what the attraction to make this film, this character, was that we were going to approach it in our own way,” Phoenix said during a Saturday press conference hosted by the Venice Film Festival. “So for me, I didn’t refer to any past iterations of the character. It was just something that felt like it was our creation in some ways and I think that’s what was really important for me and key to it.”
The makeup-wearing criminal is presented here first as the mentally unwell Arthur Fleck, a failed and tormented comedian who slips deeper and deeper into degeneracy in crime-infested Gotham City.
“As soon as I started to identify — because I did identify Arthur as a particular personality, a particular type — but I also wanted the freedom to create something that wasn’t identifiable,” Phoenix told press. “This is a fictional character, and I didn’t want a psychiatrist to be able to identify the kind of person that he was. When you get into the sort of medications, you’re talking about what issues he may have, and it would always feels like... let’s step away from that, and we want to have the room to kind of really create what we want. And so there was kind of this balance.”