OK, this is the strangest news we’ve encountered in months. Martin Scorsese along with “The Hangover” director Todd Phillips, Warner Bros. and DC Films are going to make a Joker origin movie and spin-off film. No, ahem… joke. Scorsese plans to produce and Philips will direct the movie. The project is in the early stages and Scott Silver of “Eight Mile” fame will write.
What’s extremely jarring and or odd, depending on how you look at it, is this Joker movie will be a spin-off, or one-off from the current DCEU. That’s right. Jared Leto won’t reprise the part and tonally it’s going to be a totally different universe. They may even go far younger. Per Deadline:
The intention is to make a gritty and grounded hard-boiled crime film set in early-’80s Gotham City that isn’t meant to feel like a DC movie as much as one of Scorsese’s films from that era, like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull or The King Of Comedy.
In other words, nothing like the universe created by Zack Snyder. Ummm, why so serious? Considering all DC Films and Warner Bros. have tried to build and maintain, and sustain for that matter — all that world building in the vein of the Marvel Universe — this news is nearly baffling. Almost… the call of Scorsese is just too much for any studio to not take heed and at least listen.
While this news may seem mind-boggling, the collaboration between Scorsese and Phillips is not. At one point, “The Hangover” filmmaker was going to direct “The Gambler” movie starring Mark Wahlberg with Scorsese acting as producer. They both abandoned the project and Rupert Wyatt of “Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes” would eventually take over. One can see a scenario where Phillips pitched the idea to the “Goodfellas” director hoping his name and muscle could take it over the line. Clearly it did.
The report puts into question the strategy of DC Films and Warner Bros. frankly, and whether that strategy is a clear and defined one. Marvel would never let another filmmaking team come in and all of a sudden create a Tony Stark/Iron Man movie that had nothing to do with the current MCU. Then again, perhaps WB wants to prove there’s not just one way to make a superhero franchise. Honestly? It feels extremely ill-advised, at least while the current iteration of the DCEU is going. As a business model, it makes little sense and could lead to a lot of confusion among non-hardcore fans.
Perhaps this is the new model though: concurrent and parallel versions of brands a la the way Sony has rebooted their “Spider-Man” franchise, but is also making an animated “Spider-Man” film too. Personally, I think it leads to brands becoming diluted. Think of the way LucasFilm are being extremely careful with “Star Wars.” There are plans for a TV series eventually, but Kathleen Kennedy and co. don’t want to take away from the films. I’m sure there’s at least a decade-plus of plans for this new iteration of the “Star Wars” universe before they start thinking of a story that just disrupts the current canon. Then again, they have a gatekeeper there in Kathleen Kennedy. With Snyder out and Joss Whedon‘s role up in the air (more tenuous given this week’s news?), it appears that no one is running a coherent ship and anyone with a good idea can come up with a DC Films superhero movie. Now, do I want to see a Todd Phillips and Martin Scorsese-made Joker film? Sure (though how about just Scorsese). But do I think it makes sense, from a brand perspective, with DC having just been at Comic Con and officially announcing dozens of additional titles? Hell no. [Deadline]