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"Are You Jokin' At Me?" A Theory About New Joaquin Phoenix Movie

By Patrick Gibbs

Screenrant  speculated yesterday that the mysterious Joaquin Phoenix Joker standalone film may be a "What if?" movie about Trump in the world of Batman. The theory was largely sparked by the announcement of the casting Alec Baldwin as Thomas Wayne, and the description on him as a tanned, as "cheesy, tanned businessman who is more in the mold on Donald Trump," as described by Hollywood Reporter.

Now Baldwin is out, which may be for the best if that's the idea people are getting. Batman with Donald Trump in it isn't much of a premise, Baldwin needs to avoid becoming forever associated with him, and I don't think it's the driving force behind the vision for this project. I Consider another line in the HR article:  "Taxi Driver and King of Comedy" are the watchwords.  We already know that Robert De Niro is playing a talk show host, and that the dynamic is reminiscent of Scorsese's De Niro/Jerry Lewis classic.  Now add in the description Baldwin's Thomas Wayne and think Casino. Now close your eyes and think of J.J. Abrams (because we all do that anyway.). Are the pieces starting to fit? 

Director and co-screenwriter Todd Phillips (The Hangover) is making his own Super 8, with Martin Scorsese as the subject of homage rather than Steven Spielberg. Right down to the master playing the role of executive producer, it's the same scenario. As someone who is a lifelong fan of the Bat and has been binging on Scorsese this year,  it's not hard at all the see where someone started to see the similarities between the world of Goodfellas and Gotham City, would start thinking about the fine line between a self styled (if crazy) vigilante like Travis Bickle and the Dark Knight (comparisons between Bickle and Rorshach from Watchmen are nothing new), and finally, how do you not connect Rupert Pupkin and The Killing Joke

It's quite possible that we should be paying more attention to the word "'80's" than the name "Trump", and that that's exactly when this film will be set. All of this is pure speculation on my part, but it makes an awful lot of sense. and it explains what would draw an icon like Scorsese to what on the surface seems like a redundant project, and why the promise of a take on the material that was so  suited to him is something he would help get made but have no interest in directing himself. 

The element of homage in the project is obviously there, but I think perhaps everyone is missing just how crucial that is to Phillips' vision, and gives some insight on why it's even being made. Imitation in the sincerest form of flattery, and as arguably the definitive voice on cinematic history and pop culture, the idea of watching someone else try to portray arguably the most film influential character of the past 30 years through through Scorsese's lens has to be an fascinating thought to the master director.  For me, the idea certainly makes the project a lot more exciting and intriguing.

What are your thoughts? 


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