Joker producer admits she doesn’t like watching comic book movies. The upcoming Todd Philips film has already made its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, in Venice Italy. So far, reviews have ranged from high praise to more critical takes, but regardless of opinion, DC’s famed villain is back in a new way.
The new film stars Joaquin Phoenix as the notorious Gotham City madman in an origin story that focuses on the troubled life of Arthur Fleck, a woefully unsuccessful stand-up comedian. Fleck’s life takes viewers inside a gritty, 1980’s interpretation of Gotham that more closely resembles Scorsese’s New York City in Taxi Driver than the gloomy yet polished world that DCEU fans have come to expect from Gotham. Safe from the trappings of any sort of rehashed comic book interpretations of the Joker and the world he inhabits, Phillips’ tale takes its own liberties with the iconic villain, as does Phoenix, whose portrayal of Fleck/the Joker is already being described by many as one of a kind and wholly engaging.
While opinions among comic book fans regarding Phillip’s decision not to make a comic book movie out one of the most notorious comic book villains of all time may be mixed, a recent revelation from one of Joker’s producers might not sit well with fans, either. According to CBR, Joker producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff stated in an interview with AP News that comic book movies have never been her cup of tea. Although she’s tried watching them in the past, she just “literally” can’t get into them. Said Koskoff:
“It’s not my preferred genre, the comic book genre. I literally can’t watch those movies. I try but I can’t. I should but I can’t. But I love this movie. Even if I didn’t work on this movie I would love this movie.”
It might seem strange to many that someone working on a film about a comic book villain isn’t into the genre at all, but this statement on the part of Koskoff simply doubles down on the idea that Phillips has done something truly unique with Joker. With comic book films more or less existing within a bubble that often feels accessible only to those who retain years of backstory and character knowledge, Joker appears to be a film that caters to a wider audience, allowing a deeper look into the character without lessening the impact of the grimy world he inhabits by tying everything up in a predictable battle between good and evil. Some might argue that this takes away from everything that the Joker is supposed to be, but several past films, including some in the Batman franchise, have already significantly examined that angle.
Another point to consider is that if comic book fans want their movies taken more seriously by critics and various awards bodies, then they must be open to new and varied interpretations on the source material. Koskoff’s admission that she doesn’t like comic book movies should not be seen as a betrayal, but rather as just another facet in the incredibly multi-dimensional medium that is cinema. True cinema fans love and dislike numerous genres, not just adhere to a strict focus on one inflexible genre. We don’t all have to love the same things, but the ability to consider new and different interpretations such as Joker is what will ultimately keep the comic book genre alive and thriving for years to come.
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019