'Joker' Director Talks Year-Long Process of Convincing Studio to Believe in His Vision

Todd Phillips directs Joaquin Phoenix in 'Joker,' out in October.


Image via Getty/Gabe Ginsberg/WireImage


Todd Phillips, he of the new Joker that places Joaquin Phoenix at the center of the chaos, has revealed in a new interview that the process of getting the Powers That Be to truly see his vision took approximately a year.

"It was a year-long process from when we finished the script just to get the new people on board with this vision, because I pitched it to an entirely different team than made it," Phillips, who had to work with his team amid "shifting questions and opinions" on the film following regime changes at both Warner Bros. and DC, told The Los Angeles Times. "There were emails about: 'You realize we sell Joker pajamas at Target.' There were a zillion hurdles, and you just sort of had to navigate those one at a time.... At the time I would curse them in my head every day. But then I have to put it in perspective and go, 'They're pretty bold that they did this.'"

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Speaking on what fans can expect with his and Phoenix's take on the iconic villain from the Batman universe, Phoenix proudly notes this interpretation boasts qualities "that frankly still aren't clear" to him, while Phillips takes his release-teasing comments back to his original intention with this film.

"It really came from this idea: what if you just did a comic-book movie differently?" he said. "We all grew up on these character studies and they're few and far between nowadays."

Wednesday, Warner Bros. shared a new trailer for Joker, which also stars Zazie Beetz and Robert De Niro. The full thing is out Oct. 4. In the meantime, catch Phillips' full Times chat here.

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