Warner Bros. is continuing to develop their DC film slate in the most interesting of ways. In addition to the number of DCEU films currently in development, they have launched a new series of films that are not set in the DCEU. These standalone films will be much darker takes on the characters involved. And it all starts with an untitled Joker origins film.
Written and directed by Todd Phillips, the film will be separate from the other DCEU films. The project was first announced late last summer. Jared Leto is still signed on to play the Clown Prince of Crime, having first appeared in Suicide Squad, and is expected to reprise his role in the Joker and Harley Quinn spinoff and other DCEU related titles. However, the plan for this movie was to cast someone else in the role. And now it looks like the director has found his actor. According to new reports, Joaquin Phoenix is close to inking a deal that will see him become the Joker.
Variety says parties have yet to enter negotiations, but Phillips has made it clear that Phoenix is his top choice. The director had met with the actor last year, and now is just waiting for the green light from WB.
This untitled Joker spinoff is designed to be a part of a much larger expansion that does not take place in the DCEU. These standalone films will put a high priority on the said character with unique story angles that aren’t included in its current cinematic universe.
As the project developed, Leonardo DiCaprio was named as one of the frontrunners of the film. However, things didn’t work out, which leads us to today.
Phillips will co-write the script with 8 Mile‘s Scott Silver. Martin Scorsese will be one of the film’s producers. It is said the film will be more of a gritty hard-boiled crime drama than a traditional comic book movie. Some have likened the film to Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, or The King of Comedy. So just imagine those films but with the Joker in them.
What’s unclear is how this Joker film will fit into the DCEU schedule.
And this couldn’t be the first time that Phoenix was in talks to appear in a comic book movie. The actor was in talks to play Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a role that eventually went to Jesse Eisenberg. Phoenix was then in talks to play Doctor Strange, a role that he passed on as well. That role would go to Benedict Cumberbatch, who would not only appear in the title film, but Avengers: Infinity War as well.