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Joaquin Phoenix is a name that has popped up now and again in connection with various superhero movie roles. While the actor isn't actually considering such a role at the moment, as far as we know, he has spoken about the likelihood that he could. In a recent interview, Phoenix says that he has no issue with the genre and doesn't discount playing a role in a superhero movie entirely. If he were offered a role with a character that he thought was interesting enough he would be willing to do it, even if that character happened to be based on a comic book. According to Phoenix...
I see it as any other movie. I wouldn't say... 'I won't do Westerns.' It depends on what it is. I don't really care about the genre, I care about the character and the filmmaker. If you have the ability to transcend the genre, then that's what you want to do. So I wouldn't say, hands down, no -- I wouldn't do that kind of movie. There are things where I've flirted with the possibility where there was the potential for this to be... something that's actually interesting to me. But then for whatever reason they never got to that place where everyone else feels the same way. And that's key. Everyone has to want to explore the same thing or else it just doesn't fucking work. I'm not opposed to it. I don't make decisions on budget or things like that -- it's really the filmmaker and the character.
Joaquin Phoenix's name has most recently been associated with the role of the Joker in a planned origin story movie. Although, when asked about it, it was apparently news to him. While that particular rumor might have no basis in reality, Phoenix was considering taking the role of Doctor Strange at one point, so he certainly is at least willing to entertain the idea of playing a role in a superhero in a movie. It's not entirely clear why Phoenix ended up walking away from the Strange role, though the actor has said that everybody involved walked away happy when talks broke down.
For whatever it's worth, Joaquin Phoenix does tell Fandango that playing the Joker "could be an interesting character" so while the rumor that spawned all this appears to have held no water, if director Todd Philips really does want him, perhaps starting talks could be worthwhile. If the character is interesting enough to Phoenix (or if he's just been playing coy), then maybe this could happen after all.
Considering that the other big name that has been rumored as a potential Joker performer was Leonardo DiCaprio, it does seem clear that the Joker origin movie is trying to do something different than previous superhero projects. The film is supposed to be entirely separate from the existing DC film universe, allowing it to tell a unique story that doesn't need to tie into anything else.
It will be interesting to see where this Joker project goes from here. They can always call Tommy Wiseau.