Why so serious?
In addition to work on Justice League and the slate of the DC Extended Universe, Warner Bros. recently announced that they’re working on another surprise spinoff project. It is a prequel to the iconic Batman villain The Joker, and it will reportedly launch a new wave of DC movies unrelated to the DCEU.
The project is being produced by the masterful Martin Scorsese (The Departed, Shutter Island) and will be set in the criminal underworld of the 1980’s. The Hangover director Todd Phillips and 8 Mile scribe Scott Silver are penning the script, with Phillips also expected to direct the project as well.
So much to unpack here. First of all, Martin Scorsese working on a JOKER MOVIE?! HOLY COW. Scorsese’s filmography is as large as it is influential, with works such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas considered by many to be among the greatest films of all time. With him taking a back seat in the producer’s chair, however, we can’t get too excited as he won’t be as involved with the film as Phillips and Silver will be. Still, knowing that the producer behind Free Fire, Bleed For This, as well as the Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself is exciting in of itself. It will be interesting to see what elements Scorsese exactly contributes to The Joker, although I wish he could be more hand’s-on with the film than he already is.
As for Phillips and Silver, they are… fine, I guess. Silver is more impressive considering he also penned The Fighter in addition to 8 Mile. Phillips, however, is where I am most concerned. His work has been inconsistent at its best, abhorrent at its worst. I can’t think of the last time I laughed at one of his movies besides the meagerly funny moments in Due Date, and as far as I can tell he’s very unpolished when it comes to directing drama. That’s not to say he can’t do a good job at directing The Joker. Shoot, Jurassic Park III’s director Joe Johnston made Captain America: The First Avenger, and that still ranks among the MCU’s best. I’m just curious where Phillips is going to take it is all. He’ll definitely need a helping hand from Scorsese and Silver if this prequel is going to work.
What I’m more interested in is the fact that this is a film OUTSIDE of the DCEU. This means that aside from The Dark Knight universe and the DCEU, this is an open canvas for these filmmakers. They have complete creative freedom for how they take on and portray this character. This is both exciting and terrifying news, because as we all know, too much creative freedom can lead to some disastrous decisions (as evidenced by the casting of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor in Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice).
Who will portray the Joker? Which comic book storylines are they going to pull from? Will it be inspired by previous on-screen iterations of the Joker, or will they be going in an entirely new direction?
Questions, questions, questions, all of which we’ll have to wait for the answers to. Hopefully we won’t be waiting too long.
– David Dunn
SOURCE: Deadline, MoviePilot