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Joker Director Denies Reports DiCaprio Was Ever In the Running for the Role

When Joker was in its early stages of development, rumors claimed Warner Bros. was looking to cast Leonardo DiCaprio as the Clown Prince of Crime. However, director Todd Phillips is now denying that the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood star was ever in the running for the role.

“We wrote the movie for Joaquin [Phoenix],” Phillips told The New York Times.

RELATED: Joker's Rotten Tomatoes Score Begins to Turn the Clown's Smile Upside Down

According to the initial rumor, Warner Bros. was hoping that then-producer Martin Scorsese would be able to bring DiCaprio aboard the project. At the time, however, no offer was made to DiCaprio, and Scorsese eventually left the project.

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Despite Phillips' claim that the film was written specifically for Phoenix, the actor was not immediately sold on the project. “He was not keen on jumping into costume in any comic book movie,” the director recalled. “It’s not necessarily in his five-year plan -- although I don’t think he has one.”

Directed by Todd Phillips, Joker stars Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Douglas Hodge, Marc Maron, Josh Pais and Shea Whigham. The film arrives in theaters Oct. 4.

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