Todd Phillips' Joker became one of 2019's biggest movies, earning $1 billion at the box office while also introducing a fresh new take on the Clown Prince of Crime. As a result of this success, the Joaquin Phoenix-led movie received a green light for a sequel, set for release in October 2024. The upcoming project, which is titled Joker: Folie a Deux, will also feature the DC debut of Lady Gaga, seemingly as this universe's Harley Quinn.
Lady Gaga's casting as the DC villain marks the character's second live-action portrayal, following Margot Robbie's performance in three big screen projects, namely Suicide Squad (2016), Birds of Prey (2019), and The Suicide Squad (2021).
Now, The Suicide Squad's director has revealed his reaction to Lady Gaga's upcoming portrayal.
James Gunn Reacts to Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn
During an Instagram Q&A, The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker director James Gunn shared his thoughts about the casting of Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn in Joker: Folie a Deux.
Gunn admitted that he's "really interested to see" what Joker director Todd Phillips will showcase in the sequel while also describing Lady Gaga as someone who is "really nice." The DC filmmaker ended his answer by saying that he's "always rooting" for nice people to do well:
"I’m really interested to see what Todd Phillips cooks up. I met Lady Gaga once & she was really nice, so I’m always rooting for nice people to do well."
In a previous interview with Slash Film, Gunn reiterated his love for Harley Quinn, pointing out that "she's probably my favorite comic character:"
“Oh, I love the Joker, but Harley is one of my favorite characters I’ve ever written,” Gunn said.“In fact, she’s probably my favorite comic character whose personality was well-defined before I wrote her for the screen. She’s an incredible companion to have while writing her insane actions and dialogue. Did I say I LOVED her?”
Speaking with Gamespot, Gunn previously offered high praise towards Robbie's portrayal of Harley Quinn, saying that "she's so perfectly embodied" the character:
“One of the reasons why I think people were so attracted to Margot in this role from the beginning is because she's so perfectly embodied a character who is actually one of the most well-written characters in superhero comics that’s ever existed, from the time she first existed in [Batman: The Animated Series] with [Harley Quinn creator] Paul Dini. And so it really is about Paul Dini’s initial character, and really staying true to that.”
How Will Lady Gaga's Harley Quinn Affect Margot Robbie's Version
James Gunn's encouraging comment about Lady Gaga's upcoming DC debut is a welcome development, and this could motivate the actress/singer in her portrayal of Harley Quinn in Joker: Folie a Deux.
Furthermore, the Marvel and DC filmmaker's supportive remark about Todd Phillips' creative approach for the sequel is also promising, mainly due to the divisive reaction from fans about the sequel being infused with musical elements. Gunn's sentiment echoed Joker star Zazie Beetz's support for Phillips as well, with her saying that the genre shift "makes wonderful sense" and aligns with Phillips' "creative approach to the character."
Meanwhile, it is understandable that there will be comparisons between Lady Gaga's Harleen Quinzel and Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn when the Joker sequel arrives in theatres. However, the fact that the sequel will have musical elements will likely set Lady Gaga's portrayal apart from Robbie's performance in previous movies.
The debut of Lady Gaga's Harley Quinn could also mean that Robbie's version will likely not appear until after 2024, considering that two iterations of the villain that are being portrayed on-screen could be confusing for casual viewers.
Joker: Folie a Deux is set to premiere on October 4, 2024.