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The People’s Joker Director Is Calling On James Gunn For Help

'The People’s Joker' Director Is Calling On James Gunn For Help

James Gunn; The Peoples Joker
Shutterstock; Courtesy of Vera Drew

Could this queer parody finally see a wide release?

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The People’s Joker drew rave reviews when it premiered at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival before its subsequent screenings were suddenly pulled ahead of the schedule over “rights issues.”

The film focuses on a queer coming-of-age story and follows director and star Vera Drew as The Joker, a struggling comedian who gets hooked on Smylex (the gas from Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman) and takes their comedy underground when it becomes criminalized in Arkham. From the beginning, Drew has maintained that films should be protected under parody law.

At the time, Drew shared that “a media conglomerate that shall remain nameless sent me an angry letter (misreported as a ‘cease and desist’) pressuring to not screen.’’

They also expressed their gratitude to TIFF for allowing the premiere screening. “Any other film festival would have pulled us immediately, but after being fully transparent with TIFF, we agreed to premiere as planned while scaling back our later screenings to mitigate potential blowback,” Drew said.

There have been recent shakeups at DC Studios that inspired Drew to speak up once again about the film. In October, James Gunn, The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker director, was named co-CEO of the studio alongside Peter Safran and has subsequently changed course on the future of the DC Universe on film and TV.

Drew, it seems, has hopes that under this new leadership, The People’s Joker may have a chance of finally getting in front of the audience it deserves. On Friday, Drew sent a tweet tagging Gunn asking for his help.

“Today would be a great day for @JamesGunn to simply say “the people’s joker falls entirely under the definition of a parody and I see simply no reason why it [couldn’t] be exhibited to the public and distributed.” I checked with my attorney, liking this tweet could also suffice,” they wrote. “Or DC buying the movie from me.”

No word yet from Gunn or DC, but hopefully someday this queer film will finally see the light of day. Come on, James Gunn, we need karmic balance for the whole “we’re still releasing The Flash movie” thing.

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Rachel Shatto

EIC of PRIDE.com

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.