Remember that rumor about how Martin Scorsese was brought in to produce Todd Phillips’ The Joker project because Warner Brothers wanted Leonardo DiCaprio to play the lead? Well, you can forget that. According to Variety, there is another Oscar-nominated actor in talks for the role.
Variety states that Joaquin Phoenix is Todd Phillips’ first choice to star as the Joker in his film after DiCaprio refused. Negotiations have not started as of yet, but apparently Phoenix has already agreed to the role in private conversations with Phillips, and the contract is just a matter of semantics.
Once again, if Phoenix does take the role, it has no bearing on Jared Leto and his interpretation of the character. He will still exist and will also be feature in a number of other films at the same. It’s a fact so confusing that every media outlet has to point out that there will be two Jokers running around at the same time whenever they write about one or the other. Phoenix’s version will be set in the 1980s and be a more gritty and urban take on the character.
Personally, I am of two minds about this. You mileage may vary, but I like DiCaprio as an actor more than I do Phoenix. DiCaprio seem the more natural, less reliant on tics of the two. But on the other hand, playing an antisocial, unhinged lunatic should come natural to Phoenix, because that was his public persona for almost all of 2009 and 2010 as he was shooting the mockumentary, I’m Still Here.
Phoenix was also at one point considered for Lex Luthor in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Doctor Strange, but neither role came to pass. Let’s see if it will be different this time.