Late yesterday, the news broke that Lady Gaga was in early negotiations to join Joaquin Phoenix in director Todd Phillips’ sequel to his Oscar-winning supervillain origin story, Joker, and it’s got the internet in a tizzy.
Does this have “disaster” written all over it? Could it be a future camp classic? Fans of both Ms. Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta and the iconic Batman nemesis seem divided, though if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that Gaga’s press tour for this would be wild.
Considering what she gave us while promoting House Of Gucci—stories about feeling drunk from prop wine, swarms of flies sent from Patrizia Reggiani herself—just think what will come if she plays a murderous Clown Princess Of Crime.
But rumors have been floating for a while now that Gaga might play The Joker’s psychiatrist-turned-love interest-and-sidekick Harley Quinn (also currently being played by Margot Robbie). Yesterday’s biggest surprise was the announcement that the planned sequel—dubbed Joker: Folie à deux—would be a musical.
Come again? A dark and gritty “descent into madness” inspired by the films of Martin Scorsese, The Joker included its fair share of dance sequences, but a musical it most certainly was not. The thought that Folie à deux could include Phoenix and Gaga covered in clown makeup, singing side-by-side is enough to send the mind racing: What kind of musical will this be, anyway?
For now, all we can do is guess. And that’s why we’ve assembled a list of Lady Gaga songs we hope show up in the sequel.
And, before you come at us: Yes, we know this is absurd—like Joker, this sequel will likely be a period piece set in the ’80s, so these tracks would (mostly) be total anachronisms. But does anything we know about Folie à deux so far make any sense? Absolutely not, so why not have a little fun with it?
This one just feels obvious. Though Joker and Harley have been on-again-off-again throughout the DC Comics canon, there’s no denying that, when they’re together, they’re all in. Chromatica‘s lead single is all about throwing caution to the wind and embracing an uninhibited, reckless, “stupid” kind of love, which fits flawlessly with this destructively dynamic duo. It’s such a perfect anthem for these doomed lovers that we could even imagine it soundtracking the trailer.
According to comic lore, Harley Quinn wasn’t always a villain, but she certainly didn’t have an easy life, making “Bad Kids” an easy music cue for her pre-clown transformation. A defiant anthem for outcasts and troubled youth, the Born This Way cut speaks to Harley’s wild child ways (“I’m a brat / I’m a selfish punk, I really should be smacked”) and could function as an early “I Want” song in the film’s musical arc.
A standalone single born out of recording sessions in the lead-up to A Star is Born, “The Cure” found Gaga revisiting her dance-pop roots for a song all about the healing power of love. When The Joker and Harley first meet, she’s a psychotherapist working for Arkham Asylum who gradually falls for the madman, and one can imagine her belting the bop to her patient, vowing to stick by his side and ease his troubled mind.
“I Get A Kick Out Of You”
The Cole Porter standard is one of many that Gaga covered with crooner Tony Bennett (off their second collaboration, Love For Sale), and it’d be a wonderfully cheeky number in a scene where Harley and “Mistah J”—fresh out of Arkham—decide to paint the town red, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Can’t you just see them maniacally smashing windows and kicking down innocent bystanders in sync with the song? And don’t forget: Phoenix once played Johnny Cash in Walk The Line, so he’s no stranger to singing on film.
The first Joker concerned itself with a down-on-his-luck Arthur Fleck, who had simple dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian before his descent into super-villainy. Surely Folie à deux can continue pulling at that thread, with Arthur joined by Harley in his sadistic pursuit of the limelight, living for the applause and the way that the citizens of Gotham will both “cheer and scream” at their reign of chaos.
This last one’s pure wish fulfillment, but is it too much to ask that the sequel make room for Poison Ivy, too? Over time, the Batman comics (and the fantastically arch Harley Quinn animated series) have made Ivy Harley’s main love interest, and we’d love to see this sexy, eco-conscious villain spice up Folie à deux with some queer romance. Gaga’s Joanne duet with Florence Welch—of Florence And The Machine—could be the perfect tune for their growing bond, a moment where the two realize they could “lift each other” up before Harley discovers she’s too good for The Joker anyway.