Now that Joker is breaking R-rated movie records and rapidly approaching $1 billion at the global box office--it crossed the $900 million mark over the weekend--it's become increasingly likely that the dark DC origin story will spawn a sequel at some point.
Director Todd Phillips had flatly ruled out a sequel before the wildly popular movie's premiere, but now star Joaquin Phoenix has left the door open to putting on a happy face one more time.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times' The Envelope, Phoenix said he initially resisted playing a comic book character, but his experience working with Phillips had proven that they could make a great film that rose above the typical Marvel or DC fare.
"I guess the fear was that you’d get locked into doing something repeatedly that you don’t really care about, that doesn’t motivate you or excite you," Phoenix said. "Part of the whole attraction to me was there was no expectation. I didn’t sign a deal to do more. It was a one-off."
But after playing (and absolutely crushing) the demanding role, Phoenix said he found himself still thinking about the character and what might happen next in his story.
"Long before the release or before we had any idea if it would be successful, we talked about sequels," Phoenix said. "In the second or third week of shooting, I was like, 'Todd, can you start working on a sequel? There’s way too much to explore.' It was kind of in jest — but not really."
Phillips, meanwhile, who was probably best known for making the Hangover movies before the success of Joker, says a sequel would only happen if they were able to justify telling another legit story set in the Joker's warped world.
"We’ve only talked about the fact that if we ever did one — and I’m not saying we are because right now we’re not — it couldn’t just be this wild and crazy movie about the 'Clown Prince of Crime'. That just doesn’t interest us," he said. "It would have to have some thematic resonance in a similar way that this does."
In other Joker news, Martin Scorsese recently revealed he was in talks to direct the movie four years ago, then pulled out for unspecified personal reasons.
“I know the film very well. I know [director Todd Phillips] very well. My producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff produced it. I thought about it a lot over the last four years and decided I did not have the time for it.
"It was personal reasons why I didn’t get involved. But I know the script very well. It has a real energy and Joaquin. You have remarkable work,” Scorsese told BBC.
That surely would have been fun to watch. But at least we can catch Scorsese's The Irishman when it premieres on Netflix November 27.