As initially reported by Variety, British actor Joaquin Phoenix (Walk the Line, Gladiator) has been in talks to play the Clown Prince of Crime for some time at Warner Bros. Now, following the finalization of Phoenix’s deal, the studio has given the greenlight for Todd Phillips’ Joker origin film.
Jared Leto most recently stepped into the psychotic clown shoes of the Joker for 2016’s Suicide Squad. Leto is reportedly returning to the role for the Suicide Squad sequel, as well as developing a standalone movie with the character. This film will be separate from Phoenix’s Joker project.
Phillips (The Hangover) is on board to write and direct, along with co-writer Scott Silver (The Fighter). With a moderate budget of $55 million, the currently untitled Joker origin movie is set to begin production in September.
The story will reportedly take place in the ’80s and offer a gritty crime drama take on how the Joker become a criminal mastermind.