Joker 2’s writer-director Todd Phillips recently delighted fans with a very first photo of the Joker sequel. The first photo gives a haunting first look at Joaquin Phoenix reprising his role as the titular villain. The Oscar-nominated filmmaker posted an image on Saturday of his Oscar-winning star in character as Arthur Fleck, aka the Joker.
A shirtless Phoenix is seen resting his head on a sink as a barber gives him a shave on the first day of filming. ‘Day 1,’ Phillips captioned the photo adding ‘Our boy. #joker.’ Phoenix’s body appears malnourished and sickly. In the photo, Phoenix leaned his head back on a towel and stared up at the ceiling with the cold dark eyes of his character. Shaving cream covers the lower half of his face as the hand of a barber holds a razor at his throat.
With this photo and caption, fans finally have confirmation that the highly anticipated followup to 2019’s critically-acclaimed blockbuster film has begun filming after years of development. The R-rated Joker was a surprise smash hit at the box office, earning $335.4 million domestically and $1.074 billion worldwide from a meager $55 million budget. The dark psychological thriller pushed the boundaries of the genre with its intense depiction of the Joker’s descent into madness and mayhem.
The film’s portrayal of mental illness was polarizing, but Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar-winning performance earned universal praise. While Joker was never intended to have a sequel, its critical and commercial success resulted in both Phillips and Phoenix returning for Joker 2, which is scheduled to be released on October 4, 2024. Titled Joker: Folie a Deux, the sequel is reportedly a musical and will feature multi-hyphenate megastar Lady Gaga in the iconic role of the Joker’s sidekick Harley Quinn.
While this will be the first time Gaga has been directed by Phillips, the filmmaker did serve as a producer on her film debut in 2018’s A Star Is Born. Both Gaga and Phoenix are known to inhabit their roles with a fierce intensity that some in the industry have found to be difficult. The title Folie a Deux is a medical term meaning, ‘an identical or similar mental disorder affecting two or more individuals, usually the members of a close family.’