We learned last summer that Todd Phillips (The Hangover) was working on a standalone origin story for The Joker, and huge news from Variety today indicates that Phillips may have found his Clown Prince of Crime in none other than Joaquin Phoenix!
The site notes that studio negotiations are not yet underway, but that “Phillips has made it clear that Phoenix is the top choice to star.” Additionally, sources tell Variety that “Phoenix has agreed to the role“ in the untitled film.
Scott Silver is co-writing the movie with Phillips, which will “fall under a yet-to-be-announced new banner of DC Comics, giving the studio the opportunity to expand the canon of the iconic comic-book characters with unique story angles that aren’t included in its current cinematic universe.”
The film is said to “delve into what it took for the Joker to become a mastermind criminal. Sources say the story will take place in the ’80s and have more of the look of a gritty crime drama than comic-book movie.“
Jared Leto is still expected to play The Joker in Suicide Squad 2 and a Harley Quinn spinoff, but Phillips’ film will not be connected to that version of the character.