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Joker Origin Film Starring Joaquin Phoenix Moves Forward at Warner Bros.

Joaquin Phoenix has finalized his deal to star in Warner Bros.' as-yet untitled Joker origin film.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Phoenix's role in the film is a done deal. Production is expected to begin in New York in September, which means the movie could release as soon as late 2019. Todd Phillips -- who co-wrote the script with Scott Silver -- is set to direct the film, which is described as a crime drama. With a budget in the $55 million range, the project is an “exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.”

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RELATED: Rumor: The Batman May Be Set in Same Universe As Joker Origin Movie

This movie is merely one of several films featuring the Clown Prince of Crime that Warner Bros. currently has in the works. In addition to this Elseworlds-style origin film, the Jared Leto iteration of the character will appear in the Harley Quinn solo film, Birds of Prey, Suicide Squad 2, the Joker and Harley Quinn film and yet another solo project, which Leto will not only star in but also produce.

Reports of Phillips’ Joker origin film first surfaced in August 2017, when it was described as “a gritty and grounded hard-boiled crime film” set in early-1980s Gotham City. Produced by Scorsese, and written by Phillips and Scott Silver (8 Mile), the project is rumored to dramatically change The Joker’s backstory, making him a failed comedian.

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