Joaquin Phoenix is grinning like some sort of Clown Prince of Crime.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. is moving forward with plans to make a film about the origins of DC Comics’ Joker with Phoenix in the lead role. The site also states the actor finalized he deal to star in the film with production planned to begin in September.
Word of the proposed Joker Origins film first broke in August, with The Hangover‘s Todd Phillips negotiating a deal to direct from a script by 8 Mile‘s Scott Silver. Phillips ultimately co-wrote the film as well, which is described as an “exploration of a man disregarded by society” and “not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.” Martin Scorsese was set to produce at one point, but it appears that he is no longer involved.
The film is one of two Joker projects in development at Warner Bros. The other is set in DC’s film universe, with Jared Leto reprising his Suicide Squad appearance as Joker. The Phillips/Phoenix film will stand apart from continuity established in Man of Steel and may even be set in the 1980s. The reports also indicated the project may be the first in a series of standalone films based DC Comics characters; with Matt Reeves’ The Batman a possible follow-up.
The Joker Origins project has not be scheduled for release.