Joaquin Phoenix is reportedly in talks to star as The Joker in Warner Bros.' planned 1980s-set origin film.
According to Variety, director Todd Phillips has made it known to the studio he prefers Phoenix for the lead role, with the star agreeing to come on board the project. The website's sources contend that Phillips and Phoenix met before the new year, and are only waiting for the green light Warner Bros. executives.
News of the project first surfaced in August, with the intended tone of the "gritty and grounded hard-boiled crime film” likened to Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. A report the following month suggested the first draft had already been turned in, with the implication being that it could go in front of the camera sometime this year.
The Joker movie is expected to be the first project under a new banner that will house a range of DC properties outside of the DC Extended Universe, with different actors playing iconic roles. To that end, the film won’t star Jared Leto, who debuted as The Joker in 2016’s Suicide Squad.