Todd Phillips' Joker Origin Movie May Have Found Its Star

Joaquin Phoenix in The Master

Last year, it was reported that in addition to keeping the DC Extended Universe going, DC and Warner Bros was forming a new DC films banner that would tell standalone stories set outside of the established shared universe. The first of these movies would revolve around Batman's arch-nemesis, The Joker, and now there's word that Joaquin Phoenix is being eyed to play the Clown Prince of Crime in this project.

War Dogs' Todd Phillips is co-writing and directing this Joker origin story movie, and according to Variety, Joaquin Phoenix is Phillips' top choice to don the purple suit. Official negotiations haven't begun, but supposedly Phoenix has agreed to the role, as he and Phillips met right before 2018 began. Now the ball is in Warner Bros' court over whether or not Phoenix will be the latest actor to bring The Joker to life.

This isn't the first time that Joaquin Phoenix has been been courted for a comic book movie. The actor known for his work in Walk the Line, The Master and Her (among others) was also considered to play Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Stephen Strange in Doctor Strange, but he passed on both roles. However, assuming this new report is correct, it sounds like Phoenix is all on board to play The Joker, and looking at his body of work over the years, he certainly has the talent to effectively ooze this DC villain's brand of crazy. Leonardo DiCaprio was previously rumored to be a candidate to play The Joker in this movie, but Phoenix would be just as good of a score, if not more so. In the DC Extended Universe, Jared Leto is playing The Joker, who was introduced in Suicide Squad and is expected to return for Suicide Squad 2, Gotham City Sirens and the Joker/Harley Quinn movie.

Rather than fit into the traditional superhero movie mold, this Joker movie is reportedly being envisioned as a crime drama set in 1980s Gotham City. Shortly after the initial announcement of this project came out, it was also rumored that the movie would depict the person who will become Joker as a kid who is made fun of because of his permanent smile. If that's true, then presumably we would only see this young man either at the beginning of the movie or through flashbacks, while the main story would revolve around his life in the "present day" and how he became one of Gotham City's most dangerous criminals. It's unclear how or even if Batman will fit into this Joker movie. Todd Phillips is working on the script with 8 Mile's Scott Silver.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more news on what's happening with the Joker origin story movie. In the meantime, if you're interested in what the DCEU has coming up, head over to our DC movies guide. Joaquin Phoenix will appear next in Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot, which hits theaters on May 11.

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Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.