Romero, Nicholson, Ledger, Leto, and now possibly Phoenix? Yes, Joaquin Phoenix is in talks to play the fifth live-action incarnation of the Joker, reports Variety. The 43-year-old Her actor would be joining the character's origin movie at DC helmed by Hangover creator Todd Phillips, who will also help write the screenplay.
Apparently Phillips met with Phoenix shortly before the new year and is simply waiting on the studio's greenlight.
Phoenix is actually a great choice for the role, as he is known for being a hardcore method actor who can sink into any character he plays. Just look at his unhinged performance as Freddie Quell in Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, or his bearded, sunglassed masquerade for the mockumentary I'm Still Here. There's no doubt the dude can be nuts when he wants to, making him the perfect candidate to play Batman's archnemesis.
Scott Silver is co-writer on the film, which has been described as more of a gritty crime movie than a comic book one. Apparently taking place in the 1980s, it will explore the Joker's rise to become the Crime Prince of Gotham. In addition, the Joker origin story is reportedly set to fall under a new banner of DC features at Warner Bros. that are not connected to the DCEU continuity. With Jared Leto reportedly attached to Suicide Squad 2, this means that we might have multiple Jokers at once.
Nevertheless, we must take this news with a grain of salt, because Phoenix has passed over comic book roles before, one for the lead role in Doctor Strange and one as Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. His main reason was that he didn't want to be tied down with the multi-movie contract that these films often require.
Earlier today, we reported that Willem Dafoe had a chance of becoming Tim Burton's Joker, but never got the part. Let's hope that Phoenix doesn't become another Hollywood "what if?" and gives Gotham the villain it rightly deserves. Just no tattoos or grillz, please.