Joaquin Phoenix Joker Movie Is Officially Happening | Film News
After months of speculation, Joaquin Phoenix has reportedly closed his deal to play the Joker in a standalone Warner Bros. film, which per THR, will get underway in September.
Word first surfaced about a year ago that there were plans for a standalone movie revolving around the clown prince of crime, one that would be a gritty origin story with similarities made to Martin Scorsese‘s Taxi Driver. The film was rumoured then, confirmed now, to be a one-off feature outside of the established DC Extended Universe.
Phoenix was heavily rumoured for the role but he had previously been in prolonged talks with Marvel about playing the title character in Doctor Strange, causing his involvement to be up in the air. When those talks broke down, he entered into discussions with Warner Bros. in February and has now officially signed on the dotted line.
He will star in the movie, with Hangover and War Dogs director Todd Phillips helming the film from a script he co-wrote with Scott Silver. The film is being described as “an exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale”.
The budget will be around $55 million, which is significantly lower than most superhero films and suggests a riskier take on the character á la Logan, and the film is expected to be darker and more experimental in tone and content, and has been likened more to a crime drama than a superhero movie.
The studio has not yet announced a release date, though it’s possible the film arrives in late 2019 if all goes well. THR suggests that Warner Bros. will eschew setting release dates for multiple films as some thought that tactic crippled the launch of the DCEU with rushed productions.
The studio is also separately developing another standalone Joker movie that presumably is connected with the DCEU, with Jared Leto reprising his role from Suicide Squad. However this Phoenix/Phillips film will go first and there’s no guarantee the Leto movie even happens. Two Joker films with different actors and a totally different tone within a few years of each other doesn’t sound like the smartest business plan.
Then again, Warner Bros. will likely try anything to get their superhero projects back on track. Phoenix playing the Joker is a tantalising prospect, and we’ll wait and see just how dark and experimental this project really is.