Nothing gets attention quite like controversy. Just ask filmmaker Vera Drew. A lot of people know all about her new film, The People’s Joker, but only because it’s inadvertently become the second most controversial film of the season, after Don’t Worry Darling. A parody of the DC Comics-verse, it was supposed to bow at the Toronto International Film Festival. It did, but only for one screening, after it was yanked from the lineup over “rights issues.” Those may eventually be cleared up; after all, parodies are protected by the good old First Amendment. But for now, after attempts to set up defiant screenings, Drew is erring on the side of caution.
STATEMENT FROM VERA ON FUTURE FESTIVAL SCREENINGS OF THE PEOPLE’S JOKER pic.twitter.com/O6y8FTzb3Y
— Vera Drew (@VeraDrew22) September 20, 2022
Drew, who took to Twitter Tuesday to give an update on the film’s ails. “As The People’s Joker team and I work to resolve our previously reported “rights issues” and come up with a release plan, I have decided to pull our film from all future film festivals for the time being,” Drew wrote. She said she “didn’t come to this decision lightly” and that it “sucks and hurts more than you’ll ever know.” Indeed, her team had 10 festivals all over the world ready to show it.
But she did end on a note of hope. “I promise that everyone — everywhere — is going to be able to see this film soon, first in a theater and then in the comfort of their home. Stick with me,” she wrote. “I’ll keep you posted every step of the way that I can. And you know where you can all send your angry letters.”
The post ended with a rallying cry: “FREE THE PEOPLE’S JOKER.”
The People’s Joker follows a clown whose chosen name is Joker the Harlequin. Raised in Smallville by a repressive mother and numbed by a drug called Smylex—which does less to alter one’s mood than one’s facial expression—Joker eventually strikes out on her own to figure out who she really is. Eventually, she finds comedy—which, in this interpretation of Gotham City, has been outlawed unless you’re a cast member on a powerful show called “UCB Live.”
So perhaps we’ll be hearing from The People’s Joker soon, and we don’t mean a postcard.
(Via The AV Club)