If there’s one thing you can say for certain about Joker, it’s that it certainly looks cinematic. Director Todd Phillips and cinematographer Lawrence Sher drew inspiration from several classic ’70s films to form the look and feel of their villain origin story, particularly Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. But one thing they could not imitate from that era was the celluloid film the movies were shot on. However, Sher reveals that the original plan for Joker was to shoot the film in 70mm film — before those plans were shot down by Warner Bros.
Like the majority of films produced today, Joker was shot on digital — which makes the plans to re-release the Joaquin Phoenix-starring film in 70mm across the country a little awkward. But if Sher and Phillips’ original plans had originally gone through, that theatrical re-release would make a little more sense.
In an interview with Variety, Sher revealed that he and Phillips originally planned to shoot the film in 70mm, emulating the ’70s films that are such a major inspiration on Joker. But Warner Bros. executives “quashed” those plans, Variety reported.
However, Sher and Phillips didn’t give up on their celluloid dreams. According to IndieWire, when Sher and Phillips’ 70mm plans were shot down, they eyed a 35mm shoot — keeping Joker on film, even if they lost the large format scope. “Todd was really adamant about shooting film, convinced we’d just shoot 35mm like we did on his previous films,” Sher told IndieWire last month. “We drove around to three or four different places around [New York City] and captured imagery with no lighting in both [35mm film and Arri Alexa 65 formats]. And when we looked at them side by side, we really loved the large-format aspect of the 65.”
However, these 35mm plans didn’t pan out either, and Sher and Phillips ended up settling on the digital Alexa 65 for their desired look. It ended up being a success for Joker, which recently set box office records as the most profitable comic book movie of all time.
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