Actor Joaquin Phoenix is in talks to star in Todd PhillipsJoker origin film, which will reportedly take place outside of the DCEU, where Jared Leto is currently in the role.

Leonardo DiCaprio was previously rumoured to be the top pick for the role – which, let’s face it, was only a rumour because frequent collaborator Martin Scorsese is working as producer on the project. Phoenix, however, has been approached for comicbook movies before now, including that of Stephen Strange in Marvel’s Doctor Strange, and Lex Luthor in DC’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.

However, it seems that the Oscar-nominee may finally be hooked.

Variety has reported that Phoenix (though yet to begin negotiations) is in talks with Phillips, and the director has made it known that the actor is his top choice for the role. The movie will reportedly take place in the 1980s, adapted to have the look and feel of a gritty crime drama, and explores how an ordinary man becomes the Clown Prince of Gotham.

The plan is that Phillips’ movie is set to kick off a currently-untitled DC Comics film banner, which will take place outside of the canon DCEU which includes the likes of Justice League and Suicide Squad, allowing there to be more than one actor playing the same role without it creating continuity problems.

Another benefit of an alternate DC Comics universe is that it will allow filmmakers to make one-off features of iconic characters, without it starting a new series or sub-franchise, meaning that actors like Phoenix wouldn’t be required to sign multi-movie commitments. This could have been what held Phoenix back from taking on comicbook roles in the past.

However, The Wrap’s Umberto Gonzalez has reported that Phoenix and Phillips have only met once to discuss that project, meaning a deal could be far from finalisation.

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