With all the heated debate surrounding the release of Joker, it's easy to forget that the movie's based on a comic-book character. The super-villain story takes influence from multiple comic-book runs, and features multiple characters from the Batman series, including Thomas and Bruce Wayne.
Speaking to Joker director Todd Phillips, we asked whether it was always his plan to have the Wayne family appear so prominently. "When I originally thought about the film, I didn't have all those things figured out," he says. "Once you start writing, you start giving things more meaning and you work things out. One of those things was thinking, 'You know what would be fun? Having the Waynes.' But it wasn't a directive from DC. I would argue that DC and Warner Bros wanted less, to make it more separate from that universe. I can see why they would. But they never said anything in either direction. It wasn't like, 'Make sure you include the Waynes' or 'Include that scene at the end.'"
Which scene is Phillips talking about? You'll have to head to the cinemas to see Joker yourself to find out. We also spoke with Phillips about the improv Joaquin Phoenix did on set, which included creating Joker's already famous dancing.
"I remember we were shooting Due Date, with Robert Downey Jr., and he said 'It feels like we're shooting a student film.' That was the feeling on Joker," Phillips says. "It was very important that the actors feel comfortable. I don't want them to see the trucks and all the lights. I want it to feel as small as possible. I always want it to feel like we have the freedom to discover."
The filmmaker also touched on whether there is more of Joker to explore, saying: "I don't know if there should be more of him. It's not something we've thought about seriously. We've joked about it and made things up in our heads about it. We do like the idea of it standing alone."