Joaquin Phoenix is officially set to play DC’s biggest villain in The Joker origin movie. Warner Bros. is moving forward with plans that will help separate their comic book movies from the competition. They’re still building a connected universe (just like every studio in Hollywood is trying to do), but they’re also double-dipping with DC content and characters. The plan is to launch a new banner at Warner Bros., rumored to be titled DC Dark, that will tell smaller, darker stories based on DC’s most popular characters.
They aren’t taking it slow either, with a movie centered around The Joker planned to be the first out of the gate. Leonardo DiCaprio was linked as the ideal choice originally, but talks quickly turned to Joaquin Phoenix. He’s been hesitant to sign on to comic book movie roles in the past, and has been cagey about whether or not he’d play The Joker. But, there’s no need to worry anymore.
Warner Bros. officially announced that Joaquin Phoenix will star in the still untitled Joker origin story. The film will be directed by Todd Phillips and co-written by Scott Silver. This won’t be the typical comic book movie though, as Warner Bros. described the film as an “exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.” This sounds more in line with Phoenix’s interests and could give him some great material to dive into.
Getting Phoenix to sign on for this Joker origin movie was no small task. He’s notoriously picky about the material he attaches himself to, so this hopefully speaks to the quality of the script. It also should further indicate Warner Bros.’ intentions of making this a standalone film, as a multi-film contract was one of the main reasons he reportedly passed on playing Doctor Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The plan is for Phoenix’s Joker movie to start production this September. Unlike its comic book-based blockbuster counterparts though, this movie will feature a smaller budget that is reportedly close to $55 million. Now that the movie has its star and start date, the rest of the film can start to come together. Leaked character descriptions recently pointed to Robert De Niro being eyed for a role in the film. Whoever else ultimately joins up prior to production starting, those descriptions could help shed light on the actual story the film plans on telling. With a possible late 2019 release date in mind, it won’t be too long before fans know for sure.