New A24 drama with Joaquin Phoenix to begin filming in November


Hot off the heels of his performance in Todd Phillips’ Joker, Joaquin Phoenix is set to star in an upcoming collaboration with A24 and film and music video director Mike Mills. 

Phoenix’s most prevalent (and perhaps most controversial) project has been winning the attention of critics and audiences alike: it’s already taken top prize at Venice Film Festival and is predicted to garner over $80 million in its domestic box office opening weekend alone. So it stands to reason that his other work has slipped a little under the radar.

Earlier this month, Deadline reported that A24 was in ‘final negotiations’ for the upcoming project. Now, we have a little more of a lead and a production schedule for the film. The project is due to begin filming in November and will shoot in New York, Los Angeles, Detroit and New Orleans. Little has been revealed by way of plot details, and the drama remains untitled. However, DiscussingFilm has reported that Phoenix’s character will be named… wait for it… Johnny. 

No, unfortunately it’s hardly spoiler material, but with the star tied up with the logistics of his latest release, it’s unlikely that he or the production team have had a chance to flesh out all the details just yet. Plus, with a busy year behind him including roles in Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, Mary Magdalene (opposite Rooney Mara), and The Sisters Brothers opposite co-lead John C. Reilly, Phoenix has already been inundated with notable screen opportunities.

Director Mike Mills has previously been behind films including Thumbsucker, Beginners and 20th Century Women, all of which take on challenging  issues with characteristic dry humour. Beginners told the story of a man who is shaken by two unprecedented announcements from his aging father; that he is facing a terminal illness, and that he has kept a younger male lover. 

Meanwhile, 2017’s 20th Century Women, also produced by A24, focused on the liberal upbringing of a boy in 1979 Santa Barbara. With an all-star cast including Annette Bening, Greta Gerwig and Dakota Fanning, it’s proof that Mills has experience working with great talent and Joaquin is in safe hands.

A24’s most recent slate of films includes The Farewell, Uncut Gems, The Lighthouse, and Waves, the last two of which are due to premiere internationally during this autumn’s awards season. For the upcoming project, the production company will collaborate with Chelsea Barnard (producer of Her, Vice, Booksmart, and If Beale Street Could Talk), Lila Yacoub (Eighth Grade, Frances Ha), and Andrea Longacre-White (20th Century Women). The majority of these high-profile figures have produced films with A24 in the past and so will give the upcoming film a strong foundation.

Set for a wide release this week, Joker is bound to dominate conversation for the next couple of weeks at least. But when (if?) the hype eventually dies down, you’ll need to look no further than the latest A24 project for your next Joaquin-centred obsession.

Joaquin Phoenix & Mike Mills Untitled Drama Set To Begin Filming In November [DiscussingFilm]

Sian Francis Cox
Sian is Flixist’s UK Editor and has written for sites including Escapist Magazine, Destructoid, and Film Enthusiast.