While sitting down with the stars of Martin McDonagh‘s upcoming black comedy The Banshees of Inisherin, Collider’s editor-in-chief Steve Weintraub was able to bring up one of Brendan Gleeson‘s other future projects. Between talks of the Irish Civil War and Banshees‘ ensemble cast, we were curious to know how writer-director Todd Phillips‘ follow-up to his Oscar-winning film Joker got on Gleeson’s radar. What was it about the sequel that stood out to him?
A little over a month ago, it was reported that the In Bruges star had been cast alongside Oscar-winners Joaquin Phoenix and Lady Gaga in Phillips’ sequel Joker: Folie à Deux. The psychological musical reunites Gleeson with fellow co-star Phoenix for the first time since they worked together on M. Night Shyamalan‘s The Village in 2004. At this time, the plot and character details for Folie à Deux are still being kept under wraps, so it’s unclear who Gleeson will be portraying within this alternate Gotham universe. Aside from Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, aka Joker, Gaga’s Harley Quinn and Zazie Beetz reprising her role as Arthur’s neighbor Sophie, we’re still a bit hungry for that sweet information.
As a fan of Phillips’ reimagined, sort of realist take on the Batman’s arch-nemesis, Weintraub wanted to know what was the final push, that irresistible deciding factor about the material, that led Gleeson to board the production for Folie à Deux. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the script that appealed most, rather the Emmy Award-winner had this to say:
“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 had. 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.”
No doubt Phillips’ bizarre and bleak return to Gotham will evoke a similarly massive response from audiences, but Gleeson slyly sidestepped giving up any juicy details in favor of praising his long-ago co-star, and the visceral response the film got from fans. In 2020, Phoenix’s performance as an impoverished comedian falling apart at the seams as his life unravels around him earned him multiple awards, including Best Actor for the year. The film itself earned eleven nominations and managed to snag Best Original Score, as well, surpassing Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight for most nominations for a movie based on a comic.
The Irish actor has been in a number of acclaimed features including Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, Braveheart and Ridley Scott‘s Kingdom of Heaven. One of Gleeson’s most notable roles is that of Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. His role as Winston Churchill in the dramatic biopic Into the Storm garnered Gleeson a Primetime Emmy Award.
As of right now, the theatrical release date for Joker: Folie à Deux is set for October 4, 2024. Check back in with Collider for more from the interview with the cast of The Banshees of Inisherin.