Todd Phillips says there's 'no contract' in place for 'Joker' sequel

Tom BeasleyContributor
Warner Bros - Joaquin Phoenix as Joker.
Warner Bros - Joaquin Phoenix as Joker.

Joker director Todd Phillips has poured ice water on reports that the comic book drama has a sequel in the pipeline.

A report earlier this week suggested that a follow-up to the massively successful film was on the way, with Phillips set to return alongside leading man Joaquin Phoenix and writer Scott Silver.

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The 48-year-old filmmaker, however, disputes some of the claims in the original story and told Indiewire there is “not a contract” for a sequel and that Phoenix has not been approached to reprise the role of Arthur Fleck.

“Well, a movie doesn’t make a billion dollars and they don’t talk about a sequel,” Phillips said.

Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Phillips attend the "Joker" Premiere on September 23, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Phillips attend the "Joker" Premiere on September 23, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

He added: “Here’s the real truth about a sequel. 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.”

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The original report also stated that Phillips met with Warner Bros chairman Toby Emmerich in October to pitch an array of origin stories for DC characters in a similar style to Joker.

Phillips has denied that meeting happened, saying it’s “not my style” to become a “factory producer”.

Joaquin Phoenix in Todd Phillips' <i>Joker</i>. (Warner Bros.)
Joaquin Phoenix in Todd Phillips' Joker. (Warner Bros.)

He admitted that he originally approached Warner Bros with the idea for a label of gritty, darker comic book movies, which has been reported previously.

Phillips has now said the studio “shut that down quickly” in favour of simply making Joker as a stand-alone work.

Read more: Could Joker win big at the Oscars?

The film has secured more than $1bn (£776m) at the worldwide box office and has become the most profitable comic book movie in the genre’s history.

Given the nature of the movie’s success, sequel talk has been inevitable and Phoenix revealed to the LA Times that he half-jokingly asked Phillips to start working on a follow-up while they were in the midst of shooting.

He 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.”

Joaquin Phoenix attends the 57th New York Film Festival on October 02, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
Joaquin Phoenix attends the 57th New York Film Festival on October 02, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

The notion of a sequel has been brought up on numerous occasions during the promotional tour for the film, with both star and director seemingly providing contradictory takes on whether a sequel would be a worthwhile project.

In the same LA Times interview, Phoenix said it would be “ridiculous” to get to work on another movie just because the first one had been a success.

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Phillips, however, teased a follow-up in a chat with Total Film, as long as Phoenix was willing to come back.

He said: “If he was willing to do it, and if people show up to this movie, and Warners came to us and said: ‘You know what? If you guys could think of something…’

“Well, I have a feeling that he and I could think of something pretty cool.”

DC isn’t sending in the clown again just yet, but it would seem foolish to bet against it.

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