It’s Official: The Joker Origin Film with Joaquin Phoenix is Happening

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brian-mcgee - July 11, 2018

It seems like DC has finally figured out a way to distinguish themselves from Marvel—aside from putting out consistently dodgy films. While their mainline film series is in shambles after the disappointing Justice League, DC is hoping that standalone films based around their various properties with no interconnectivity to the rest of their film universe is the way to go.

The first film in this experiment was announced a while back, a Joker origin film to be directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover, Old School). While there were rumors that Oscar nominated actor Joaquin Phoenix was in talks to play the clown prince of crime, it wasn't made official until yesterday.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news yesterday that the untitled film is going into production in New York this Fall with an eye toward a late 2019 release date. The film's budget is reported to be $55 million dollars, a mere fraction of the average comic book movie, which will give Phillips and Phoenix more room to give the film an experimental edge that most tentpole CBMs can't afford.

As a huge fan of Phoenix—save his rapping antics a few years back—I think this is the perfect casting choice for this character. No one taps into his darkest impulses and flaunts them on-screen in quite the same way as Joaquin. This is an incredible pairing of actor and character that's probably only going to make us all mad that they went with Jared Leto for their mainline Joker.

No word on whether that rumor about Robert De Niro joining the cast was bogus, but it certainly doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility. He'd likely play a character similar to Jack Palance's role in Burton's Batman, which means he absolutely positively has to say, "That you, sugar bumps?" We'll keep you up to date on the latest news as it comes in.