The Hangover director Todd Phillips may go from the Wolfpack to Smilex gas.
Deadline reports the director is in early talks to helm a Joker origins film for Warner Bros. Pictures. Phillips will co-write the script with 8 Mile‘s Scott Silver. What’s more, the film will be produced by legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese.
To paraphrase an internet meme, this is real life.
The film will not feature Jared Leto as the Clown Prince of Crime, but focus on a younger version of the character and how he came to get those scars. Or how he became a patsy in some criminal’s scheme and ended up in a vat of acid. Or how he was a failed comedian with a wife and kid. Or his days as a violent would-be gangster named Jack Napier. It’s hard to remember what’s true and what’s the joke.
But no joke is the plan to develop this and future DC Comics films under a new banner that appears to have some similarities to the publisher’s long departed Elseworlds line. As Deadline put it, “WB can expand the canon of DC properties and create unique storylines with different actors playing the iconic characters.” It also a way for Warner Bros. to create films based on the comic characters without the burden of the so-called DC Extended Universe.
For the Joker project, it means creating a “grounded and gritty” Gotham City of the 1980s for a young man with a flare for makeup and theatrics to inhabit.
To be honest, I’m gobsmacked by this bit of news. A Joker origin story is about as close to being the antithesis of the character as you can get. I know DC Comics recently announced the character’s real (and familiar) name, but part of the appeal is that he is anybody. On top of playing with heresy, such as it is, there’s also the involvement of Scorsese. I know money is tight for him these days, but does he have to get roped into this sideshow as well? Yeah, I have to admit my reaction to this is negative. It supports the ongoing narrative that Warner Bros. has no sense of direction in regards to the comics character they own as they seemingly want the DCEU and the option to tell story outside of it.
Then again, it may reflect a plan to just dismantle the shared universe concept entirely and go back to producing DC-derived films as separate entities.
The Joker Origin movie is currently unscheduled.