Actor Joaquin Phoenix is reportedly being offered $50 million (Rs 367 crore) to reprise his role as Arthur Fleck in two sequels to his 2019 blockbuster, Joker. The film, directed by Todd Phillips, was originally intended to be a standalone story, but after critical and commercial success, both Phoenix and Phillips began hinting at follow-ups.
Phoenix won an Academy Award for his performance. The film racked up a total of 11 nominations at the 2020 Oscars — the most for the year — and became the first R-rated film to make more than $1 billion worldwide, leaving Warner Bros ‘shocked’.
The Mirror quoted a source as saying, “Joaquin initially felt Joker was a standalone movie. But he’s changed his tune now. He says he wants to play this character again, despite the controversies that came with the release last year.” The insider continued, “It’s still being negotiated but the scripts are being written and Joaquin is very engaged with it. They plan to make two sequels in the next four years, with a long-term commitment to Joaquin and his Joker director Todd Phillips and producer Bradley Cooper. It’s all about getting Joaquin to accept the terms – and the biggest payday of his career by far.”
Previously, Bradley Cooper in a video featurette casually let slip that more films were being planned. “Todd called me and said ‘listen I have this crazy idea for this altered version of DC, and the first one is the origin story of Joker’,” Cooper said.
Phoenix told the Los Angeles Times in an interview, “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.”
Shortly after the film’s release, the actor told critic Peter Travers, “I can’t stop thinking about it … if there’s something else we can do with Joker that might be interesting. It’s nothing that I really wanted to do prior to working on this movie. I don’t know that there is [more to do] … Because it seemed endless, the possibilities of where we can go with the character.”
In November, contrasting reports emerged that Phillips, Phoenix and writer Scott Silver had been hired to work on the sequel. Phillips later clarified that while he was discussing the possibility of a follow-up, no official deals had been set in place.