The Oscar-nominated actor, Joaquin Pheonix, is being eyed by director Todd Phillips to star in an upcoming Joker origin movie, as reported by Variety.
Phillips, who previously directed The Hangover, met Phoenix last year and has been considering him for the role since.
An official announcement is still far off, since negotiations with Warner Bros are yet to start. However, Phillips has put Phoenix’s case forward, strongly touting him as his top choice. And, according to sources, the Inherent Vice star has agreed to come onboard.
The film is part of the DC Extended Universe and will focus and build up on the lives of the characters outside the pre-established DC cinematic universe. These DCEU films will be set in a separate timeline from the one in which Suicide Squad was set.
Interestingly, the film will be produced by the legendary Martin Scorsese, who will give it a ‘gritty crime drama’ touch. It will focus on The Clown Prince of Crime’s early years in the ‘80s.
If the role becomes official, this will be third lucky time for Phoenix, who has previously turned down two similar comic book roles. Back in 2015, he refused to play the Doctor Strange role which eventually went to Benedict Cumberbatch. He also skipped playing Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
He explained his decision to reject the role of Doctor Strange in an interview with Time Out London in 2015.
“When I was younger I was probably a bit of a snob about [taking on blockbuster roles]. But they’ve gotten better. I’ve flirted with several of those films, having meetings and getting close, but ultimately it never felt like they’d really be fulfilling.”
“There were too many requirements that went against my instincts for character. I’ve been spoiled. I’ve never had to make those compromises.”
I’ve not met a director yet with one of those films where we go through the script, they say: ‘You know what, f**k this set-piece, let’s focus on the character!’ I understand, but it’s best I don’t do it.”
He will have big boots to fill in though, as delving into the twisted mind of comics world’s most celebrated villain is no easy task. Jared Leto’s studio antics whilst shooting for Suicide Squad went to great lengths, as the actor gifted a dead pig to the film’s cast!
Previously, the legendary Heath Ledger had locked himself up in a hotel room for a month to mentally prepare himself for the coveted yet highly challenging role.