“Joker: Folie à Deux,” the “Applause” singer wrote via Instagram in August 2022, alongside the film’s planned release date, “10.04.24.” Gaga accompanied her post with a video featuring black silhouettes of herself and Phoenix (in character as Arthur Fleck) dancing on a red background. Set to a carnival-inspired version of “Cheek to Cheek,” the clip ends with the duo’s outlines in a waltz as crazed laughter can be heard.
Details of the film’s plot have not yet been revealed, though Gaga is rumored to play Harley Quinn, who is often depicted as being in an on-and-off, abusive relationship with the Joker in the comic books. The film’s title, Folie à Deux — a French term that refers to a “delusion or mental illness” shared by two people in close association — could be a nod to the difficult relationship between the characters.
Though Joker was initially intended to be a stand-alone film, rumors of a possible sequel first surfaced in August 2019, when writer and director Todd Phillips told Total Film magazine that he would be open to making another film provided that Phoenix was involved. “One thing I will tell you: I would do anything with Joaquin, any day of the week,” he said at the time. “There’s nobody like him. If he was willing to do it, and if people show up to this movie [I would].”
In June 2022, Phillips confirmed that he would write and direct the sequel, Joker: Folie à Deux, by sharing a photo of the script via Instagram. The Hangover director also shared a black-and-white snapshot of Phoenix reading the screenplay.
Phoenix won the best actor Oscar in January 2020 for his performance as aspiring stand-up comedian-turned-madman Arthur in the critically-acclaimed Joker. Set in the early 1980s, Joker provides a potential origin story for the famed Batman villain, as Arthur’s mental illness, poverty and the cruelty of the society around him drives him to insanity. His public descent inspires a violent uprising among his fellow citizens, who embrace the clown mask as their symbol of rebellion.
“I’ve been a scoundrel in my life,” Phoenix said in his Oscars acceptance speech. “I’ve been selfish, I’ve been cruel at times, I’ve been hard to work. I’ve been grateful [because] so many of you in this room have given me a second chance. … We help each other to grow, we educate each other, we guide each other to redemption. That is the best of humanity.”
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