‘Joker’ Director Todd Phillips Clears Up Rumors About Potential Sequel

After making more than $1 billion at the box office, rumors swirled this week that a ‘Joker’ sequel was in the works but director Todd Phillips has pumped the brakes on that story…

“Joker” already got the last laugh at the box office after making more than a $1 billion but any plans for a sequel are nothing more than rumors right now.

That’s the word from director Todd Phillips, who responded to a story published by The Hollywood Reporter earlier this week that stated plans were already in motion for a sequel of the film starring Joaquin Phoenix that received positive reviews from critics and has already been mentioned for Oscar contention in 2020.

While Phillips admits there have been very cursory talks about a sequel — because any billion dollar movie will force that conversation to happen — absolutely nothing has been signed, sealed and delivered with him, Phoenix or the studio as of yet.

“Here’s the real truth about a sequel,” Phillips explained when speaking to IndieWire. “While Joaquin and I have talked about it, and while touring the world with Warner Bros executives — going to Toronto, and Venice, and other places — of course, we’re sitting at dinner and they’re saying, ‘So, have you thought about…?’
“But, talking about contracts, there’s not a contract for us to even write a sequel, we’ve never approached Joaquin to be in a sequel. Will that happen? Again, I just think the article was anticipatory at best.”

Phillips flat out denied one part of the story about a meeting that supposedly took place on October 7 that locked down the deal for his return as director on a sequel. While he does have a long standing relationship with Warner Bros., Phillips says nothing has ever been contracted in terms of his return to handle a second “Joker” movie.

“I can honestly say to you there was no meeting that ever happened on October 7 where I marched in,” Phillips said. “First of all, if you know me and my career, that’s not my style. I made a huge comedy at Warner Bros., ‘The Hangover,’ and I didn’t suddenly become a comedy factory producer, like, oh, let’s just churn out movies. Bradley [Cooper] and I have a production company at Warners. I’ve been at Warners for 15, 16 years. We have two things in development at all times, not 40 things like some people. I’m not the kind of guy who goes marching in saying I want these 40 titles. I just don’t have the energy.”
“When I pitched them ‘Joker,’ it wasn’t a movie, it was, let’s do a whole label. They shut that down quickly and I get it. Who am I to walk in and start a label at a film studio? But they said, let’s do this one.”

Obviously the massive success “Joker” has experienced at the box office has just about everybody intrigued on the possibility of a sequel but Phillips isn’t ready to commit to anything just yet.

He’s talked about a sequel because that’s always going to be the results of huge box office earnings but that’s a far cry from a deal being reached that would see him and Phoenix return for another “Joker” movie.

“Well, a movie doesn’t make a billion dollars and they don’t talk about a sequel,” Phillips said. “Joaquin and I have publicly said we’ve been talking about a sequel since week two of shooting because it’s a fun thing to talk about. But the article was referring to other things than that that were just frankly untrue. I don’t know how it gets started, if it’s some assistant trying to gain street cred with a writer.”

Right now, Phillips and company are on the awards circuit as hype for the 2020 Academy Awards has already gotten underway with “Joker” expected to receive a lot of attention once the nominations are announced. Phoenix in particular almost seems like a lock for a Best Actor nomination but the film as a whole may also receive recognition after becoming a critical and commercial hit this year.

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