Joaquin Phoenix Says He’s Always Been Open To A Joker Sequel


Joker has turned out to be the surprise hit of the year, with Todd Phillips’ supervillain origins story sitting as Warner Bros.’ highest-grossing movie of 2019. Though they were initially wary of greenlighting this one, you can bet that the studio will now be clamoring for a sequel. But it’s ultimately all up to whether star Joaquin Phoenix wants to reprise Arthur Fleck for Joker 2. And thankfully, he seems into it.

The Los Angeles Times asked the actor if he would come back now that the film is successful. To that specific wording of the question, Phoenix replied in the negative. “I wouldn’t do a sequel just because the first movie is successful,” he said. “That’s ridiculous.”

This might sound bad out of context, but the star went on to make clear that he’s actually been willing to do a sequel all along, not just because it’s become a hit. He even admitted that he pestered writer/director Todd Phillips to start work on a follow-up while they were shooting the first one.

“Long before the release or before we had any idea if it would be successful, we talked about sequels. In the second or third week of shooing, I was like, ‘Todd, can you just start working on a sequel? There’s way too much to explore.’ It was kind of in jest — but not really.”

To show just how much enthusiasm he has for playing the part again, Phoenix revealed that he even went so far as to mock up some fake posters which dropped Arthur Fleck into other classic movies, much like Joker was inspired by The King of Comedy and Taxi Driver. 

“I basically said, ‘You could take this character and put him in any movie.’ So I did a photo shoot with the on-set photographer and we made posters where I Photoshopped Joker into 10 classic movies: Rosemary’s Baby, Raging Bull, Yentl. If you see it, you’re like, ‘Yeah, I’d watch that movie.’ Yentl with Joker? That would be … amazing!”

By the sounds of it, then, Phoenix would definitely be up for returning for a Joker sequel, but only for the challenge of digging deeper into the character and not because of the financial incentives or because the studio wants it. Which is good news, because it looks like WB is already developing ideas for it behind the scenes.