Back in February, a rumor surfaced that Hangover director Todd Phillips had met with Joaquin Phoenix around the new year to see if the 43-year-old actor would be interested in playing the Joker in an upcoming origin movie unconnected from the already-established DCEU where Jared Leto (Suicide Squad) already plays the iconic villain. Two days ago, an interview with Phoenix made it seem like he was interested in the role, but that nothing concrete had been agreed upon. He discussed the topic yet again during a chat with Yahoo! Entertainment while promoting his thriller You Were Never Really Here, which arrives in theaters Friday.
When the topic of playing the Joker was broached, Phoenix acted coy, almost as if he didn't know anything about it. "Who?" he responded to a question about the Todd Phillips project. When asked if comic book projects held any sway over him, he said:
"It’s just the character and the filmmaker, right? Westerns were just comics, and then they began as s***ty Old West movies until somebody came along and said, “Wait a minute, there’s a great character here.” So I’m not opposed to them, or that genre. I mean, typically I don’t like horror stuff, but there’s obviously some brilliant horror movies. So I’m not opposed to a movie just because of the genre — it just depends on the character."
Finally, the interviewer flat-out inquired as to whether there was any truth to the rumors that he'd be the next Crime Prince of Gotham. With a cryptic smile, Phoenix's answer was simple: "Oh, no idea. No idea. I look at so many different things, so I don’t know what is happening."
So, all in all, not a reassuring development and we're still in the dark on who will next take up the mantle of the classic DC villain. It would be cool if Phoenix just gave us a concrete answer, but he's an interesting fella and if he has sealed the deal at Warner Brothers, he might be under contractual obligation to remain tight-lipped about the whole thing. It's just the sort of prank the Joker would pull, especially now that it's April.