Joaquin Phoenix is getting ready to follow in the footsteps of Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, and Jared Leto by playing the next iteration of The Joker on the big screen. Variety reports that “The Master” actor is circling the role for Todd Phillips’ upcoming standalone movie. Negotiations have not taken place yet, but Phillips tells Variety that Phoenix is the top choice for the job and sources reportedly say he’s agreed to the role.
Phillips, best known as the director of “The Hangover” trilogy, is co-writing and directing the movie, which is a part of the DC Extended Universe that includes films like “Justice League” and “Wonder Woman.” The standalone Joker film is expected to be a prequel of sorts that finds the character rising through the criminal underworld to become a mob king. Leonardo DiCaprio was originally a top choice for the role but that didn’t pan out. Jared Leto will continue to play the character in DCEU movies.
Phoenix has long been resistant to joining any major studio blockbuster. He was in talks to play Lex Luther in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and was set to be in consideration to lead “Doctor Strange,” but the actor ended up turning down both superhero films. Phoenix has a busy year ahead of him thanks to the releases of “You Were Never Really Here,” which won him Best Actor at Cannes last year, and “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot.” Both films have earned the actor loads of acclaim.
The Joker movie is expected to take place in the 1980s. The project is being described as more of a crime saga in the vein of a Martin Scorsese movie than a traditional superhero origin story.