A Joker origin film, separate from the Jared Leto character currently running amok, is in the works at DC Films under the watchful eyes of Todd Phillips and Martin Scorsese. Phillips, known for films like The Hangover and War Dogs, is set to direct the film off a script he wrote with 8 Mile scribe Scott Silver. Scorsese was brought on to serve as an executive producer with the hope that he’d convince Leonardo DiCaprio to star in the lead role. But with DiCaprio having signed on to star in Quentin Tarantino’s Manson movie, Phillips and Scorsese are now circling other candidates. Chief among them: Joaquin Phoenix, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Phoenix is “the top choice to play” The Joker in the film, which will depict the character “as a gritty crime boss in a Scorsese-esque Gotham underground” circa the 1980s. Phoenix was previously offered the role of DC villain Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and was in talks to play Doctor Strange for Marvel, but ultimately passed on both roles. He has yet to enter formal negotiations with DC, so his participation in the Joker film is no sure thing either.