Joaquin Phoenix Picks Mike Mills’ New A24 Drama as His ‘Joker’ Follow-Up Movie

A24 is nearing a deal on a new project that would pair director Mike Mills with Joaquin Phoenix. (Via Deadline.) The project would be Phoenix’s first role following his celebrated performance in the forthcoming Todd Phillips-directed “Joker.” The movie will be written and directed by Mills, best known for his films “20th Century Women” and “Beginners.” Production is set to begin this fall. The project is a boon for A24, especially as Phoenix heads into this year’s awards season with a much-hyped performance.

Reception to “Joker” has been mostly ecstatic, with critics praising Phoenix’s performance as the notorious Batman foil as one of the actor’s best. Critics are divided on the actual film, with many hailing “Joker” as the new hallmark for superhero movies and others calling it the death knell of cinema. The Warner Bros. project has been the talk of the fall festival circuit, taking home the Golden Lion from the Venice Film Festival. Phoenix is currently considered the frontrunner for the Best Actor Oscar.

The new project is also a first for Mills since his widely acclaimed “20th Century Women,” which also garnered him his first Oscar nomination. Mills was nominated for his screenplay, which revolved around women from different walks of life living under one roof. Set in 1970s Southern California, the film starred Greta Gerwig, Annette Bening, and Elle Fanning.

Powerhouse indie distributor A24 continues to run circles around the competition. The company has already had great critical and commercial successes this year with Ari Aster’s “Midsommar,” Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell,” Joanna Hogg’s “The Souvenir,” and Claire Denis’ “High Life.” As if that weren’t enough, A24 is heading into Oscars season with a full slate of contenders yet to be released. They include Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse,” Trey Edward Shults’ “Waves,” and Josh and Bennie Safdie’s “Uncut Gems,” all of which generated much buzz at their fall festival outings.

The new project will be produced by Chelsea Barnard, Lila Yacoub and Andrea Longacre-White.

Details on the project are scarce, but it’s safe to assume a Mike Mills film will see a different turn from Phoenix than the tortured soul on display in “Joker.”