Brendan Gleeson on Why He Joined “Joker 2”

Brendan Gleeson is having quite a moment. The highly regarded performer just hosted Saturday Night Live, and he’s been making the rounds promoting his starring role in director Martin McDonagh’s critically acclaimed black comedy The Banshees of Inisherin. That film, which sees Gleeson re-teaming with his In Bruges co-star Colin Farrell (which McDonagh directed), is getting serious Oscar buzz, which is no surprise considering the talent involved. It’s currently sitting at 98% fresh on RottenTomatoes.

Yet Gleeson has another little movie he’s working on, Joker: Folie á Deux, which will see him joining Joaquin Phoenix and Lady Gaga, the latter reportedly playing the Joker’s main squeeze, Harley Quinn. As Gleeson was talking to Collider about  The Banshees of Inisherin, he did have something interesting to say about what drew him to the Joker sequel.

While most of the time an actor will tell you he wanted to board a project because of a stellar script or a deep respect for the director, which were both assuredly draws for Gleeson here, he points out the main attraction was seeing what Phoenix did in the 2019 original. Here’s what Gleeson had to say to Collider:

“It wasn’t the material, which is a great way to get me out of having to answer any questions about the criteria. It was the achievement of the first film. I worked with Joaquin before on The Village… And so I knew him from then. And that performance, I’m still in awe of it. That performance as Joker in that first movie. It was one of the most extraordinary achievements I’ve ever seen. And for Todd to have – Worked the movie around to allow for that, I didn’t have to be asked twice. I really didn’t.”

It seems like a million years ago now, but when Joker bowed in 2020, it drew a massive amount of attention, ticket sales, critical response, and, eventually, eleven Oscar nominations (with a Best Actor win for Phoenix, no less). Phillips and co-writer Scott Silver’s dark, downbeat vision for a Joker origin story had none of the superhero pyrotechnics we’re used to seeing in big-budget comic book movies. Instead, Joker was a character study of Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck, a deranged, floundering comedian and clown-for-pay swiftly losing his mind in a crime-ridden Gotham. The sequel is reportedly going to be a musical, and with Gaga and Gleeson on board, you can only imagine what kind of madness is being cooked up.

Joker: Folie á Deux is slated for an October 4, 2024 release. You can next see Gleeson in The Banshees of Inisherin, which bows on October 21, 2022.

For more on Joker: Folie á Deux, check out these stories:

“Joker 2” Adds Brendan Gleeson

Zazie Beetz Circling a “Joker 2” Return

Lady Gaga Releases “Joker 2” Teaser Hyping Upcoming Musical Mayhem

“Joker 2” With Joaquin Phoenix & Lady Gaga Gets a 2024 Release Date

Featured image: VENICE, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 05: Brendan Gleeson attends “The Banshees Of Inisherin” red carpet at the 79th Venice International Film Festival on September 05, 2022 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)


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