The unfortunate truth about the DCEU is that no matter how great their movies are or can be, fans won’t trust the franchise until they can finally pin down the best way to utilize Jared Leto’s Joker and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. The Suicide Squad movie was a big way to announce the DCEU as a franchise to watch, and it failed on almost every level. Now, the studio is completely botching every attempt at a follow-up, taking their incompetence to a new level with the news that the writing/directing duo behind NBC’s This Is Us and Focus (which starred Will Smith and Margot Robbie) is now set to write, direct, and produce the new Joker/Harley Quinn spin-off.
I should clarify: the news I’m upset about is not who DC chose to make this movie, but instead the fact that they’re going to take the work of two supremely talented individuals and cut it to shreds. Looking back on the films and shows the duo has been involved with, especially in conjunction with frequent collaborator Dan Fogelman, their record is as close to flawless as any in today’s increasingly uneven studio production process. Bad Santa, I Love You Phillip Morris, Crazy Stupid Love, and The Angry Beavers are just some of the projects the duo has either written, directed or pulled double duty on. Even their worst work is head and shoulders above a majority of what’s hitting theaters right now, and the idea of them playing in the DCEU universe should be exciting.
But no level of talent is going to save the DCEU if they can’t stop screwing over their directors. Just look at how David Ayer was treated during the post-production process for Suicide Squad, and imagine that happening for every movie where Jared Leto is on-screen at any point. It’s going to be a mess, and all it’ll do is tarnish the reputation of the people involved. So if the movie on-screen isn’t even going to be theirs and they have to take the blame for it, I’m assuming the two worked out a deal that gives them a majority of creative control if they actually have signed on for this project.
And, if this already didn’t make any sense to you, this is the third Joker-centric movie currently in-development with DC. Between this, the Suicide Squad sequel, and the Joker origin story from Todd Phillips and Martin Scorsese (which I still can’t quite wrap my head around), DC is both putting all its eggs in the Jared Leto basket and trying desperately to derail the films’ potential successes at every turn. It’s almost hard to comprehend at this point how the studio heads at DC don’t understand that you can’t micromanage your way to success, and if they keep suffocating filmmakers with stupid notes, no one’s going to want to work with them.
Oh, and, remember that Gotham City Sirens movie David Ayer was supposed to do? Yeah, that’s done. Instead, Ayer’s out, Ficarra and Requa are in, and the Joker/Harley Quinn movie is going to replace the Gotham City Sirens movie! Either, this thing has to be 4 hours long, or we’re going to get another 135-minute chunk of incoherence and underdeveloped plot points. Prior experience has me leaning towards the latter as a more probable reality.
Images: DC, Warner Bros.