Joaquin Phoenix on the fence to play Joker in new stand-alone film

The Scorsese-produced project will have a grittier, crime drama tone than more recent films in the DC universe.
By Zoe Poindexter | Feb 09, 2018
Oscar-nominated actor Joaquin Phoenix is in talks to play Gotham villain the Joker in the Warner Bros' new origins tale produced by Martin Scorsese. The film is yet to be titled, and will be directed by theHangover's Todd Phillips.

While studio negotiations have yet to be made, sources told Varietymagazine thatPhoenix was the top-choice actor and has agreed to take on the role.

Phillips is co-writing the screen-play with 8-Mile'sScott Silver. While many of the plot details are not solidified yet, this standalone will take place in an early 1980s Gotham City. The film will explore the character's development into the iconic DC villain, and will have a grittier, crime drama tone than recent films in the DC universe.

This isn't Phoenix's first time being offered a role in a superhero movie. He previously passedup offers for the role of DC villain Lex Luthor inBatman v. Superman, and as the titular character in Marvel'sDoctor Strange.

"I've flirted with several of those films, having meetings and getting close, but ultimately it never felt like they'd really be fulfilling," Phoenix toldTime Outin 2015. "There were too many requirements that went against my instincts for character."

Jared Leto most recently played the Joker in Suicide Squadand is likely to reprise that role in Suicide Squad 2, but will not be featured in this film.

This year, Phoenix can be seenin Gus Van Sant'sDon't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot, which recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

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