In one of the most puzzling match-ups of talent and material in recent movie memory, Hangover director Todd Phillips and Martin Scorsese are reportedly teaming up to make an origin story for Batman super-villain The Joker. Y’know, some days, working the movie news beat feels like people are just ripping out pages of old Entertainment Weeklys, taping them to the wall, and throwing darts at them.
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The project, first reported by Deadline, will be directed by Phillips, who will co-write with Scott Silver (whose previous scripts include 8 Mile, The Fighter, and, um, The Mod Squad) and co-produce with Scorsese. It is, to put it mildly, a strange marriage; Phillips hasn’t made a good movie since the original Hangover, a funny-enough one-off comedy drawn out into an excruciating trilogy. His last feature was War Dogs, in which, as we noted, he “cribs so much of his style from GoodFellas that it’s almost an uncredited remake,” so it’s not surprising that he wants to work with Scorsese – more surprising is that Scorsese wants to work with him. Best guess? The offer came in while Marty was again puzzling over the low grosses of his brilliant Christmas movie Silence, so he decided fine, fuggit, if all people will go see is goddamn comic book movies, I’ll do a goddamn comic book movie.
As far as how the film will fit into the world of other, terrible DC-inspired films, Deadline reports, “This will be the first film under a new banner that has yet to be named in which WB can expand the canon of DC properties and create unique storylines with different actors playing the iconic characters.” Considering that the so-called “DC Extended Universe” has yielded exactly one (1) decent movie, this feels unreasonably unearned, but there is one piece of good news here: the “different actors” notion means no Jared Leto. Sure, this whole story is a depressing encapsulation of the branding double-talk and artistic compromise that defines modern mainstream moviemaking, but at least we’ve got that.