So long, Leonardo DiCaprio. There’s a new frontrunner to play The Joker in the currently untitled origin movie about Batman’s greatest foe. Joaquin Phoenix, who was most recently seen in the 2017 thriller You Were Never Really Here, is in talks to take on the role.
The news comes from Variety, which reports the actor is co-writer and director Todd Phillips’ top choice to play the character. Sources also claim that Phoenix has agreed to star, though there is no official comment from Warner Bros., the studio behind the DC universe of movies.
It’s important to note that this movie will be separate from the current franchise of films, known as the DC Extended Universe. Phoenix’s casting, should it come to pass, will have no impact on Jared Leto’s portrayal of The Joker in future movies–such as the already-announced Suicide Squad 2.
While Phoenix has yet to star in a comic book movie, he’s been close before. Before Benedict Cumberbatch was cast, the actor was in talks to star in Doctor Strange. He also passed on the role of Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Additionally, this will be the first comic book film for Phillips, who previously directed the Hangover franchise, War Dogs, and 2003’s Old School. There is no announced release date for the Joker origin movie.