At this point, I’m sure Warner Bros. is hearkening back to the halcyon days when Henry Cavill‘s mustache and having a pre-publicly exposed Joss Whedon step-in for Zack Snyder were their biggest concerns, because this week has been a rough one for them when it comes to their DCEU movies and messaging.
So Ben Affleck is/isn’t Batman in a movie that is/isn’t set in the DC cinematic universe. Jared Leto is going to be The Joker in a Joker/Harley Quinn movie and Suicide Squad 2…but not in a Joker origin movie that Martin Scorsese is involved with…that won’t be set in the DC cinematic universe. Now Suicide Squad 2 is getting fast-tracked, as is the Joker/Harley Quinn movie…which now might be bumping Gotham Sirens off the schedule completely…which a lot of people are not happy about.
This didn’t happen over months, people. We’re talking weeks…and in most of those instances? Same day.
That’s the difference between “Marvel Mouse” and Warner Bros.: “Marvel Mouse” would never let anything even close to that happen on their watch. Love them for the uniformity that it helps create or loathe them for how it stifles personal artistic vision and creativity, “Marvel Mouse” knows how to keep the ball rolling.
I like to think that “Marvel Mouse” runs their movie workshop like a professional wrestling match. Everybody involved gets their chance to shine and put a little bit of themselves into the show…but at the end of the day? The storyline is still the storyline, so if you’re the person who scripted to get pinned…you’re getting pinned. Because as important as you are, you’re never as important as “The Big Picture.” For “Marvel Mouse,” it’s about doing whatever’s necessary to keep the wheels a-turnin’ so that the pubic gets 27 Iron Man movies, 16 Thor Movies, 11 Guardians of the Galaxy movies and a Black Widow movie (eventually…in 2036); and except for the occasional fly in the vasoline, they’ve done a pretty good job of presenting a public face of an almost cult-like happiness.
Warner Bros.? Yeah…not so much. For some reason, they still seem to be in “drunk baby deer” mode in that they keep bumbling and fumbling their way around as if they need to find a way to shoot themselves in the foot again. If “Marvel Mouse” is a pro wrestling match where the wrestlers and the ref work together to tell the story as it’s been designed, then Warner Bros. is like a junior high science fair: everyone’s under the same roof, but that kid’s volcano experiment just set his table on fire. That kid over there lost his guinea pigs. Two more kids just got on the PA system and started making fart noises with their armpits.
You see what I’m getting at…right? Warner Bros. has all of these cool things to play with, but it really doesn’t seem like anyone over there actually talks to one another…or emails…or texts…or even passes others notes in Study Hall.
But that’s okay, Warner Bros., because I’m here to help you out by pitching you…
THE GREATEST IDEA FOR A JOKER ORIGIN STORY EVER!
Let me begin by saying that a Joker origin movie is a pretty shitty idea for a whole bunch of reasons…and you can find every single one of them being bounced around on Twitter and pop culture websites as you read this. That’s because they’re right: The Joker is best as an enigma…a mystery…that one great joke that we’re deprived the punchline to. An origin takes away his mystique and righteously fucks with his literary mojo.
But since there’s a 99.873% chance that you’re going to ignore a whole bunch of fans and plow ahead with it anyway (I understand. It’s Scorsese. He made Goodfellas. I get it.), I’m here to give you an idea for a Joker origin movie that might just keep everyone happy.
“The movie starts in a warehouse (or some large facility like that) at the tail-end of an attack by The Joker’s crew. Place is a mess, with bodies from warehouse security and The Joker’s crew scattered throughout. Three of The Joker’s people are there, waiting for word from “The Boss” on what their next move is and what they should do. As they’re waiting, they start talking about The Joker and each of them takes a turn telling a story they “swear” is the true origin of The Joker. After each of them goes, the three of them realize that one of the bodies on the floor was The Joker the entire time: he was faking his death to listen to them and see if he could figure-out which of them called-in a tip and set them up. As The Joker’s about to kill the one he suspects, he’s stopped by one of the others…who was Batman in disguise all along.” (c) Ray Flook (I know how this business works, Scorsese…)
I know…I know! You could break your neck trying to come-up with a complete list of books, movies, television shows and comic books that I respectfully borrowed from for this idea. Saw…The Usual Suspects…blah, blah, blah… Hollywood ran out of original ideas on February 23, 1982 — we’ve been running purely on mashups ever since.
Here’s what sells it: imagine three different Joker origin stories handled by directors and writers not usually accustomed to working in big budget superhero movies. The possibilities are endless, and just think about all of the different ways they could handle each one visually. Personally, I’d give your left foot to see Tarantino write and direct a Joker origin story in black ‘n’ white. And the punchline to all of it? None of them have to be the real one — so the mystery still remains!
So the ball’s in your court, Warner Bros. Have Scorsese’s people call my people…and by “my people,” I mean the various voices I’ll end up using on the phone to make it seem that I have anyone who works for me. I’m more than willing to do lunch and negotiate points up-front…just make the call.
And for those of you who I just saved from the pain of a real Joker origin movie? You’re welcome.
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