Ridley Scott has criticised Joker for “the way it celebrated violence”.
The director has worked with Joaquin Phoenix – who played the titular DC villain in the 2019 film – in his new movie Napoleon, and was inspired to cast the Oscar-winner after seeing his performance in Joker.
However, Scott explained in a new interview that while he was impressed by the performance, he wasn’t the biggest fan of the film as a whole.
“I was blown away by his outrageous film Joker,” the filmmaker told Deadline. “I didn’t like the way it celebrated violence but Joaquin was remarkable.”
“I thought he’d be an amazing asset to Napoleon, [not only creatively] also in a commercial sense,” he added. “There were only two actors I had in mind for the role. I won’t mention the other one.”
Scott previously spoke about being inspired to hire Phoenix off the back of his Joker performance, telling Empire: “I’m staring at Joaquin and saying, ‘This little demon is Napoleon Bonaparte.’ He looks like him.”
Napoleon, which also stars Vanessa Kirby, will follow the life of French leader Napoleon Bonaparte, and Scott recently revealed there is an extended version that runs over the film’s planned 158-minute theatrical cut.
Joaquin Phoenix at the Los Angeles premiere of “Beau Is Afraid” held at the Director’s Guild of America on April 10, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. CREDIT: Getty/Michael Buckner/Variety
As well as the historical film, Scott is set to helm a Gladiator sequel, which will star Paul Mescal as Lucius – the nephew of Phoenix’s character Emperor Commodus in the first film.
The director recently revealed that he decided to cast Mescal after seeing Normal People, explaining to Total Film: “I was thinking, ‘Who the hell is this Paul Mescal?’ And then I watched the whole series. And then, suddenly, Gladiator 2 came up, because the script was working pretty well. And I kept thinking about Paul. And that was it.”
Meanwhile, Joker is set to get a sequel film called Joker: Folie à Deux, which will see Phoenix return as the titular character, with Lady Gaga joining as Harley Quinn.
Alongside a returning Phoenix and Zazie Beetz, the film will also star franchise newcomers Brendan Gleeson, Catherine Keener, Jacob Lofland and Harry Lawtey.