Somewhere in Hollywood, Todd Phillips, Joaquin Phoenix, and Lady Gaga are all sharing a good laugh. In the hours since it was reported that Gaga may join the Joker sequel—a musical, reportedly!—as Harley Quinn, social media has promptly lit up with memes and mockery about the movie. But while the internet may be having its fun, there’s a method to Warner Bros.’ perceived madness.
Titled Joker: Folie à Deux—a reference to a medical term for shared psychosis or delusional order—Gaga would play the Arkham Asylum psychiatrist who falls for the Joker and becomes his partner in crime. Just last week, Phillips shared the blood red cover of the screenplay, which was written with Scott Silver, to Instagram. He also posted a black-and-white photo of Phoenix reading the script, although sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that his deal has yet to be finalized.
News that Gaga would paint on her Joker Face inspired a kind of gleeful skepticism—but there’s nothing Joker fans love more than playing devil’s advocate. Here’s the thing: with $1 billion in worldwide grosses and 12 Oscar nominations (including Phoenix’s best actor win), Warner Bros. was not going to let a Joker follow-up slink away. And what better person to join this polarizing, memeabl, circus than a fresh-off-her House of Gucci hot streak Gaga?
In some ways, the Joker sequel would be a fitting third film for Gaga’s trilogy of music and mania, following 2018’s A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper is also a Joker producer) and 2021’s House of Gucci. If reports that Joker: Folie à Deux is a musical are accurate, Gaga could embrace both her melodic and method acting skills with aplomb. Her casting would be the definition of threatening us with a good time.
As has already been shown, this movie’s publicity tour writes itself. If you thought Gaga and Adam Driver’s House of Gucci production stills were major, remember the buzz generated by shots of Phoenix filming in clown makeup on those damn stairs. Their combined forces could make for the most chaotic, controversial, and campiest film in recent memory, which in a sea of safe sequels is a good thing. And what better way to combat the perception that Joker only appeals to DC comic fanboys than by populating multiplexes on opening weekend with Gaga’s little monsters?
Yes, the movie has every chance of being an unmitigated disaster—but it also has the opportunity to pleasantly surprise. Either way, Phillips and co. have already gotten what they wanted by dangling Gaga before our eyes. And if it all goes up in flames, I’ll be applying my white face paint and adjusting my red nose accordingly.
source: Vanity Fair