DC has had a string of bad luck for a long time. Its biggest blockbusters of Superman and Batman had rather mixed reviews, though Wonder woman changed their luck. Joker too is one of the finest films that has come in the entire year, and not just from the DC camp.
Showing a brilliant tragedy and an upcoming villain can be rather difficult. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. There’s a garbage strike, rats rampaging in the piled-up trash, parts of the city are no better than slums and Arthur Fleck, troubled professional clown and wannabe stand-up comedian, sits in front of a mirror, slowly painting his face. It’s part of the corporeal canvas which changed Bruce Wayne to Batman and shows the effect of the town on Arthur. He attempts to smile and resorts to holding the corners of his mouth up in a grin that stretches from ear to ear. A single tear rolls down his cheek unnoticed, pulling his make-up with it. Pain in the midst of attempting comedy. The darkness that comes within the false joy. So begins Joker. There’s not a costume or burst of CGI in sight. Just a man. A sad clown. But do you know about the various untold stories that go behind creating such a poignant masterpiece?
The script has been changed many times, based on the current mood and timing of the director. The frequent rewrites and re shoots suggest a more improvisational approach than most comic book movie directors take, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it implies the final product will be a more collaborative work incorporating ideas from the cast into the director.
Casting changes are fairly common in Hollywood, and Joker is no exception — in fact, the film was forced to adapt when two of its biggest names ended pulling out of the project prematurely. In addition to the surprising hires of Phillips and Phoenix, acclaimed director Martin Scorsese raised eyebrows when he signed on to help steer development as a co-producer — but he left the project in July 2018 due to being overextended by prior commitments, and was replaced by Emma Tillinger Koskoff (The Wolf of Wall Street), a producer who’s worked with Scorsese for years.
“I just don’t want to feel so bad anymore,” whispers Arthur, who’s also on seven different types of medication and has been in the system for most of his life. A system that now has no resources or time for him. A desperate whisper that you know won’t be heard by anyone. That simply signifies the beginning of both a descent and his path to becoming the Joker. This is ultimately what Joker is: an origin story. One that touches only ever so lightly on what has come before in the DC Universe
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