Whether your allegiance is with Marvel or DC, there’s no denying that the Joker is one of the greatest comic book villains of all time, and Joaquin Phoenix, one of the best of actors of his generation.
Last year, Warner Bros. announced that it would be expanding the DC universe with an origin story dedicated to Batman’s iconic arch-nemesis.
According to Variety, writer/director Todd Phillips has found his villenous Clown Prince in seasoned actor Joaquin Phoenix.
Phillips, whose directing credits include comedy classics Old School (2003) and The Hangover (2009-2013) trilogy, shared that Phoenix is the top choice to star.
In Gladiator (2000), Phoenix played the Roman Emperor Commodus and, in doing so, showed that he’s a master at playing the villain.
His subtle yet chilling performance even earned him his first Oscar nomination.
It’s no stretch of the imagination to see why Phoenix is well placed to delve into the menacing and deranged psyche of the Joker.
Phoenix is also a great method actor who’s not afraid to go ‘all in’ for a role.
Case in point – I’m Still Here (2010).
In 2009, he announced to the world that he was retiring from acting to start a hip-hop career.
Casey Affleck captured that journey in a “documentary”, but later revealed that the events were staged.
It was a convincing hoax since Phoenix never broke character.
Take a look at his awkward appearance on Letterman for a refresher.
If signed, Phoenix will follow in the footsteps of Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and more recently Jared Leto in 2016’s Suicide Squad.
Cesar Romero famously brought the icon to life in the 1966 Batman TV series, and Star Wars alumni Mark Hamill also continues to lend his voice to the agent of chaos in various animated projects.
Rumours initially had Leonardo DiCaprio pegged to star, but this latest report has put that to rest.
The movie will fall under a new banner of DC Comics – giving the studio the opportunity to explore unique stories that are entirely separate to its current cinematic universe.
The decision is excellent news for Jared Leto fans, as it means he’s still likely to reprise his role in upcoming projects including the unnamed Joker/Harley Quinn movie, Gotham City Sirens and Suicide Squad 2.
Scott Silver, whose most notable work includes 8 Mile (2002) and The Fighter (2010), will join Phillips as a co-writer on the film.
With Martin Scorsese attached to produce, the intention is to make a gritty crime film set in early 80’s Gotham City.
Steering away from the typical comicbook movie may prove to be a smart move that sees DC take the wheel rather than playing catch-up with Marvel.
Given the success of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy, there is a definite appetite for the darker side of DC.
It is likely the opinion of many that no actor will ever top Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime, but with an actor of Phoenix’s calibre at the helm, the movie is definitely one to watch.
Deserted Island Movie Collection: Anything from the brilliant mind of John Hughes.
Best Movie Snack: Popcorn... Wait... No.... Choc-Top.... I'm notoriously indecisive!