Joaquin Phoenix Is Frontrunner for Joker Origin Movie

The 'Walk the Line' actor is reportedly the top choice to play the Batman villain in the upcoming stand-alone movie.

AceShowbiz - Joaquin Phoenix could be your new Joker. The three-time Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner is reportedly director Todd Phillips' top choice to play the classic Batman villain in an upcoming origin movie that he will direct.

According to Variety, negotiations with Warner Bros. are not yet underway, but after thinking it over, Phoenix has agreed to the role. "The Hangover" director had met with the "Her" actor before the new year and was just waiting for the studio's approval, sources say.

The Joker origin movie is a stand-alone project developed by WB and DC Entertainment as part of a new group of films that will exist outside of its shared universe, which includes "Wonder Woman", "Justice League", "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" and "Man of Steel". Jared Leto plays Joker in 2016's "Suicide Squad" and is still on board to reprise the role in "Suicide Squad 2" and an untitled Joker and Harley Quinn project alongside Margot Robbie.

Phillips teams up with Scott Silver to write the script for the Joker origin movie, which is said to take place in Gotham City in the early 1980s and have more of the look of a gritty crime drama than comic-book movie.

Previously, it was reported that Leonardo DiCaprio was eyed to play Joker in the stand-alone movie. Jared Leto has reacted to the idea of having another Joker depicter on the big screen. "I'm a little confused too," he told The Hollywood Reporter last September. "I love the Joker. He's a great character and really fun character to play. But it's a big universe and when you play the Joker, there's no ownership there. You have the honor of holding the baton for a little while and then passing it off. There are other films that are in development and I'm excited to see what comes from them."

As for Phoenix, he was offered the role of Batman's villain Lex Luthor in DC movie "Batman v. Superman" and was in talks to play Doctor Strange for Marvel, but he passed on the opportunities. He was last seen in Amazon's movie "You Were Never Really Here" and will next appear in Gus Van Sant's "Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot", which is based on the memoir of late cartoonist John Callahan. He has also completed the filming of "Mary Magdalene" in which he plays Jesus.

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