‘Joker’: Frances Conroy in Talks to Play Mom to Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker in ‘Batman’ Spinoff (Exclusive)

The film will be released on October 4, 2019

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Frances Conroy is in talks to play the Joker’s mother, Penny, in Warner Bros.’ “Joker,” an individual with knowledge of the project exclusively told TheWrap.

Joaquin Phoenix is set to play the titular character, while “Deadpool 2” star Zazie Beetz is in talks to join the cast as a single mother who catches the attention of the Joker prior to his transformation into the nihilistic Gotham City villain. In Alan Moore’s version of the Joker’s origins, the villain was an unnamed failed comedian who struggles to make ends meet for his pregnant wife. When his wife is killed in a freak accident and a robbery he is forced to take part in disfigures his face, the comedian snaps, becoming the infamous Joker.

While story details are being kept under wraps, it has been previously reported that the origin story for Batman’s nemesis will be more of a mid-budget crime thriller than a superhero blockbuster, and that it will be based — at least loosely — on the origin story for the character depicted in Moore’s “The Killing Joke.”

Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow will co-produce the film, with Todd Phillips directing. Emma Tillinger Koskoff and Richard Baratta, whose producing credits include Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” are attached as producers. The film will be released on October 4, 2019, with production set to begin in New York in September.

On Monday, it was also reported that Robert De Niro was in talks to join the project. The role would see De Niro portray a talk show host who plays a role in the Joker’s origins.

Conroy recently starred in “The Tale” opposite Laura Dern, Jason Ritter and Elizabeth Debicki, as well as “American Horror Story,” “Young Sheldon” and “Arrested Development.” She is represented Paradigm Talent Agency and Echo Lake Entertainment.