Warner Bros. are working on an untitled Joker origin movie, and they're hoping to cast Joaquin Phoenix
Todd Phillips, the director of the Hangover trilogy and Due Date, has signed on to direct and co-write a brand new origin movie about DC's Clown Prince of Crime. No actor has been cast yet but sources suggest that Joaquin Phoenix is the top choice for studio exes and he's actually agreed to sign on to the role. WB haven't responded to requests for comment but rumours say Phillips and Phoenix met some time before Christmas for a sit down discussion about the role and the direction of the film, and are just waiting for the final go-ahead from the studio.
BREAKING: Joaquin Phoenix is in talks to play the Joker in Todd Phillips' standalone JOKER movie. Love this choice. One of the best actors of our time. pic.twitter.com/3GtZksM6kN— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) February 8, 2018
You might be wondering where that leaves Jared Leto, the beautiful gazelle of an actor/singer who plays the Joker in Suicide Squad. The casting for the standalone Todd Phillips film doesn't change anything about the current DC universe so shouldn't have any bearing on Leto's casting in any further films. The untitled origin movie is designed to be part of a new branch of DC Comics where they can expand the canon of the comic-book characters we know and love through unique story angles that can't be included in its current cinematic universe. Suicide Squad 2 is likely to feature Leto again in the iconic role, but we know he won't be making an appearance in the upcoming Gotham City Sirens as rumours have suggested his decision to stay in character on set managed to irritate a lot of his colleagues.
The report comes from Variety magazine after months of rumours that Leonardo DiCaprio was the studio’s top pick—something that made a lot of sense given Martin Scorsese’s involvement as the film’s producer. The film is set to explore the character’s time in Gotham as he becomes a supervillain through an 80's gritty crime drama backdrop. The casting would be a big step into the unknown for Joaquin, who is more used to thoughful indie films and has turned down opportunities to play Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the titular role of Doctor Strange. He spoke in 2015 about a possible future in comic book movies, commenting:
"I’ve flirted with several of those films, having meetings and getting close, but ultimately it never felt like they’d really be fulfilling. There were too many requirements that went against my instincts for character. I’ve been spoiled. I’ve never had to make those compromises. I’ve not met a director yet with one of those films where we go through the script, they say: ‘You know what, fuck this set-piece, let’s focus on the character!’ I understand, but it’s best I don’t do it.”
This must mean the script is something really special, right?