Joaquin Phoenix is the latest actor to step into the Clown Prince’s shoes, teaming up with director Todd Phillips (The Hangover) to tell the Joker’s origin story in an upcoming film.
Phoenix (Walk The Line, The Master, Her) will play a different version of the Joker than Jared Leto’s take on the character, who made his debut in Warner Bros. new DC Cinematic Universe in 2016’s Suicide Squad. Phoenix and Phillips’ Joker movie is described as an “exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale,” according to The Hollywood Reporter, that’s “meant to be different from comic book super hero movies.”
Most interestingly, the film will reportedly mark the first project “under a new banner that has yet to be named in which WB can expand the canon of DC properties and create unique storylines with different actors playing the iconic characters,” according to a previous Deadline story. That means Jared Leto’s Joker and Phoenix’s Joker aren’t necessarily connected.
Previous rumors suggested that Leto could play the Joker in Phillips’ movie, but that’s apparently no longer the case. Leto is set to reprise his role as the Joker in another stand-alone film, however. That means there are at least two stand-alone Joker films in development at Warner Bros. The Joker is also rumored to appear in a stand-alone Harley Quinn movie and Suicide Squad 2.
There is no estimated release window for Phoenix’s Joker project, but The Hollywood Reporter suggests it could arrive as early as 2019.
Update: Alec Baldwin has reportedly joined the cast as Batman’s father, Thomas Wayne. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter the part is a “cheesy and tanned businessman who is more in the mold of a 1980s Donald Trump.” Also joining the cast are Robert De Niro, Deadpool 2’s Zazie Beetz and Glow’s Marc Maron.