Joaquin Phoenix
Andrea Raffin /

Joaquin Phoenix appears to be headed to Gotham City to star in Todd Phillips’ standalone ‘Joker’ movie.  According to reports, negotiations have not begun, but Phoenix is Phillips’ top choice and after a meeting late last year, Phoenix has decided to sign on.  Phllips is attached to direct and is co-writing the script with Scott Silver.

This film will be completely free-standing, unattached to the existing DC Universe of movies, in which Jared Leto portrayed The Joker in 2016’s ‘Suicide Squad’ and will, presumably, continue to do so in upcoming projects.  This ‘Joker’ origin story won’t impact them.

Phoenix is a three-time Academy Award nominee for ‘Gladiator’ (2001), ‘Walk the Line’ (2006) and ‘The Master’ (2013).  He was last seen in 2015’s ‘Irrational Man’.  He has two movies debuting in the next few months, ‘You Were Never Really Here’ in April and ‘Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot’ in May.  Phoenix was in talks to play Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange’.

Meanwhile, Phillips is best known for his comedy work, in particular, ‘The Hangover’ franchise.

This movie will be an origin story.  In the comics, at least according to one account, the man who would become The Joker, was a struggling standup comedian who agreed to participate in a robbery at the Ace Chemical company, where he used to work, in order to make money to support his pregnant wife, Jeannie and their unborn baby.  However, Jeannie is accidentally killed in a household accident.  Her husband attempts to back out of a robbery, but is forced at gunpoint to lead the other criminals inside.  Things go awry and he falls into a vat of chemicals and is washed into the nearby river.  Upon emerging, he discovers his skin has turned chalk white, his hair bright green and his lips, now ruby red, were permanently fixed in a rictus grin.  This series of events drove him insane and he became the most famous villain in comics.

The Joker has previously been portrayed in live action by Caesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and of course Leto.  Ledger actually won a posthumous Academy Award for his depiction.  Could it be possible that Phoenix, a three-time nominee, is hoping that this role will do the same for him?

What would you think of this casting?

Source: Variety