Why Lady Gaga Is Perfect For Joker 2’s Harley Quinn Explained By DP

Joker: Folie à Deux director of photography explains why Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn will be the perfect match for Joaquin Phoenix’s titular character. Todd Phillips’ Joker, released in 2019, went on to become one of the year’s biggest films, despite courting controversies ahead of its debut. Starring Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, aka the titular Clown Prince of Crime, Joker provided a new take on the DC Comics character with a psychological character study of the classic villain’s descent into madness.

Despite functioning well as a singular installment, Joker has now spawned an upcoming sequel, Folie à Deux. News about the sequel has proved that Phillips will continue exploring new possibilities and twists on the character in the next film, which was announced as a musical and will star Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn. The teaser trailer for Joker 2 showed that the movie will lean into Arthur and Harley’s romance, possibly showing a new side of the infamous DC pairing. While many were surprised by the choice to cast the popular musician and actor in the film, Gaga’s public persona, acting chops, and musical talents make her a strong choice for the role in the eyes of one crew member.

During an appearance on The Hollywood Reporter’s Behind the Screen podcast, the DP for Folie à Deux, Lawrence Sher, explained the reasons that Gaga will shine in the role of Harley. Sher stated that Gaga will « create a similar kind of magic that Joaquin brought, » teasing another breakout performance in the franchise. See Sher’s full quote below:

“She’s going to be a really cool fit for this movie and will create a similar kind of magic that Joaquin brought by himself. The combination of the two will be exactly what we hope, which is exciting, and we’ll find magic every day on set. Hopefully we’ll also have a bit of madness in there. We like when there is a little bit of chaos.”

Based on Sher’s comments, Gaga’s iteration of Harley will bring some of the chaos that the character is famous for, while also matching Phoenix’s electric energy on-screen. The Joker actor was lauded for his dedication to his performance and even won an Oscar for the role, setting the bar high for his co-star in Folie à Deux. Luckily, Gaga is a formidable on-screen presence in her own right, so it’s likely that the pair’s scenes together will bring equal parts of intensity and exhilaration. The couple’s traditional dynamic in past adaptations has been abusive and toxic, but Phoenix’s Joker is less inherently villainous than past versions, with his mental illness and lifelong struggles serving as the catalyst for his crimes. Due to Phoenix’s fresh characterization of the comic book villain, his Joker’s relationship with Harley will likely take a new route, possibly including a kinder, albeit still twisted, sort of love.

Based on the news that Joker: Folie à Deux will function as a musical and Arthur’s hallucinations of the original movie, it’s possible that the full film will function as a fantasy sequence, meaning that Gaga’s Harley will either match Arthur’s perception of reality, be conjured by it, or exist differently outside it, like Zazie Beetz’s character in the first film. In contrast to Margot Robbie’s version of Harley, Gaga in Joker: Folie à Deux will likely be darker to match the tone of the Phillips films, and more unstable, due to the film’s title, which translates to « folly of two, » or « shared madness. » Though the reception of Gaga’s performance as Harley remains to be seen, Joker: Folie à Deux is shaping up to be a wholly unique cinematic experience.