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Robert De Niro May Join Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Movie as an Inversion of His ‘King of Comedy’ Character

The spinoff will reportedly be in the vein of '80s crime dramas.

Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro

Andrew H. Walker/REX/Shutterstock

If Joaquin Phoenix isn’t enough to get you interested in yet another movie about the Joker, perhaps the news that Robert De Niro may be joining him will help? Variety reports that the two-time Oscar winner is in talks to join the spinoff about Batman’s arch-nemesis, which Todd Phillips (“The Hangover”) is directing — and his character will echo one of his former roles.

Per Variety’s sources, De Niro would play “a talk-show host who plays a part in driving Phoenix’s character to go mad and become the Clown Prince of Crime. According to insiders, the script has ties to De Niro’s film ‘King of Comedy,’ about a failing comedian who kidnaps a popular talk-show host to gain fame. In this case, the roles would be reversed, with De Niro playing the smug host.” Martin Scorsese directed 1982’s “The King of Comedy,” which co-starred Jerry Lewis as the talk-show host in question.

Somewhat confusingly, this isn’t the only Joker movie in the works — Jared Leto will reprise his “Suicide Squad” rule in future movies set in the DC Extended Universe as well as star in a standalone project of his own; Phoenix’s movie exists in a separate continuity. De Niro was reportedly convinced to consider this new Joker when Phillips persuaded him that the film would be in the vein of ’80s crime dramas. We’ll find out when it’s released in theaters on October 4, 2019.

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