Joaquin Phoenix will star in Joker origin movie for DC

It’s official: Warner Bros and DC weren’t just having a laugh with that Joaquin Phoenix/Joker movie.

The studios released a joint statement on Tuesday (July 10) confirming Phoenix will play The Joker and The Hangover‘s Todd Phillips will direct a film that is “meant to be different from comic book superhero movies”.

This Joker origin story will be an “exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale”, Warner Bros said in a statement.

No title has been released yet, but there may be more news on that front when Warner Bros holds its annual presentation at Comic-Con International next weekend. Production on this Joker movie is set to begin this September ahead of a possible 2019 release.

The Joker origin story will be produced under a new Warner Bros Studios division solely focused on DC Comics villains, and has been curiously announced days after Suicide Squad‘s Joker actor Jared Leto jumped ship to Marvel to star in Spider-Man spin-off Morbius, the Living Vampire. (Leto is still attached to his own Joker solo project at DC as well.)

Phoenix’s Joker is expected to be a standalone incarnation of the character, not connected to the wider DC Extended Universe established by the Justice League film.

It has previously been reported that director and co-writer Todd Phillips is aiming for a gritty tone for his Joker film, and will portray the Clown Prince of Crime as a failed stand-up comedian just like in the iconic graphic novel The Killing Joke.

Although legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese was originally involved in developing the project as a producer, Deadline reports that he is no longer actively attached.

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