Todd Phillips Reveals New Joker Image Featuring Lady Gaga

Todd Phillips loves his fans. Yesterday, the filmmaker posted a picture on his Instagram account with the message “Happy Valentine’s Day.” The image is, of course, from Joker: Folie à Deux, the sequel to his surprise mega-hit from 2019, Joker. The picture shows Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, who is now the Joker (and locked up in Arkham Asylum), and Lady Gaga as Dr. Harleen Quinzel, the Arkham psychiatrist who will become the Joker’s infatuated moll, Harley Quinn. This is the first glimpse we’ve had of Lady Gaga in the role, unless you count the silhouette in the teaser from six months ago. Instagram is a pain with embeds, but you can see the picture below:

Joker Lady Gaga

I love the way Phillips is marketing this movie. These images are great, invoking tone more than plot while still giving hints at what’s going on with the Joker in the sequel. Showing Lady Gaga as Harleen Quinzel first is a smart move; I have no faith in movie trailers, but it would be great if they saved her reveal as Harley Quinn for the movie. There’s much we can extrapolate from the picture, too, especially thematically. Phoenix is not wearing makeup, but I had to look at it closely a few times to be able to tell. That’s because the sun is beaming down in a way that makes it appear he’s wearing the white clown paint because that’s how Harleen perceives him. She sees through the façade that is Arthur Fleck, the disturbed, psychotic man the world believes him to be, and knows that he’s really the Joker, the demonic embodiment of chaos. They can take his makeup off, but it’s all she can see. And I like her expression: a mix of fear and delight, perhaps the former slowly transforming into the latter. Of course, that’s just what I see, and others may interpret it differently. But that’s what makes the image so exquisite, and why each reveal Phillips releases makes me even more excited to see this movie.

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