There’s a lot of excitement around Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and rightly so. The timing of its release, however, is doing no favors for my screenplay, which most Hollywood studios seem to be passing on. So I have to do unorthodox things, like press leaks of dialogue, to generate greenlighting buzz:
Batman (in rocking chair on porch with The Joker): I’ve just got to know – why did you go with The Joker instead of just Joker?
The Joker: Are you starting in on this again? Let it go, Batman.
Batman: I’ll let it go when you give me an explanation. I’ve told you why I went with Batman. Because there’s only one Batman…
The Joker: Which gadget on your utility belt makes you better company? This just in … we’ve retired. Consider buying a comfortable pair of slacks. Look at Superman over there. He doesn’t need his cape to destroy all takers in Tetherball.
Batman: Don’t change the subject. There’s no need to differentiate among Batmen. Yours sounds like there are many Jokers, and you just happened to be the best at a point in time.
The Joker: You’re overthinking this. Can we just enjoy the afternoon?
Batman: I’m only getting started, The Joker. There, see how silly that sounds?
The Joker: My friends always said Joker when they addressed me. It was just formal stuff, like Send me a billion dollars or I’ll destroy Gotham. /s/ The Joker.
Batman: Let’s say I apprehended you at a gas station. You could be like “Oh, I’m just A Joker, not The Joker. He was here getting a burrito five minutes ago but you just missed him.” Then when you’re a safe distance away, you yell out the window of your Camaro “Sucker, I am The Joker!”
The Joker: And your point?
Batman: My point is if the shoe were on the other foot and you had me cornered, you’d be confident you had captured the one and only Caped Crusader.
The Joker (folding newspaper): Alright, I see you’re not going to let this rest, so let’s see how you like being questioned. Riddle me this…
The Riddler (popping up at the front porch railing): Did someone say riddle?
Batman: Nobody takes you seriously, Riddler. Go back to your water aerobics class.
The Riddler (sighs): Aquaman is leading it. Zero chance he’ll sleep alone tonight. It’s been so long since the Riddler’s felt a woman’s touch.
The Joker: Where was I? Ah, yes, the definite article. “The” conveys acceptance just as you are…
Batman: That was always more Robin’s issue.
The Joker: Whatever. The point is, it shows familiarity. Like Oh, look, it’s The Batman, bringing in groceries. Those oranges went everywhere – bet The Batman wished he double-bagged ‘em! With the definite article, you’re relatable. Without it, you’re not. That’s what they’re thinking when they say Isn’t that Batman sleeping in a cave, hanging from the roof by his toes…
Batman: That’s a nasty rumor. I don’t sleep that way. I don’t have sonar, either.
The Joker: Yeah, foul’s on me there. Remember when you bailed on water volleyball last month, leaving us with an odd number? I told everyone Aquaman was jamming your radar.
Batman: I get migraines! You know how bad they can be for me. Not cool.
The Joker: I know, but you gave me the opening. Plus I’m The Joker, it’s what I do. [Pitifully] Tell you what. If I tell you why, will you try to get past this and move on with your life?
Batman: You have no idea how hard I’ll try. Please tell me. I must know.
The Joker: It was a trademark thing. My lawyers said I needed to be The Joker. Simple as that. And guess what? Now whenever that Steve Miller Band song plays, I get a nice taste of the royalties. That’s why I don’t have to take my dinner before four in the afternoon like the rest of you penny-pinchers, and Mrs. Joker wears nothing but ermine and pearls. Not bad, eh?
Batman: My brother-in-law represented me. He was terrible. He levered up the Batmobile, which the studio then repossessed when I was one payment away. You know how much harder it was protecting Gotham in a beat-up Corvair?
Superman (yelling as he walks by, shirtless): Hey, Catwoman! Don’t forget, 9:30 tonight, my room, that outfit. Bring a friend. (Looking at Batman and The Joker) What’s up, losers?
Batman: I so need to find a new retirement community.
This is but a taste of the screenplay – I don’t have the big guns at CAA pitching for me so I’m wearing out my own shoe leather. But trust me, there’s plenty more where that came from. I smell Oscar. Do you?