Joaquin Phoenix addressed social media buzz about possibly becoming the next actor to play The Joker, telling Fandango Monday that he’s not averse to jumping into the world of comic book movies… if the conditions are right.
“I see it as any other movie,” Phoenix told Fandango. “I wouldn’t say… ‘I won’t do Westerns.’ It depends on what it is. I don’t really care about the genre, I care about the character and the filmmaker. If you have the ability to transcend the genre, then that’s what you want to do. So I wouldn’t say, hands down, no – I wouldn’t do that kind of movie.”
Talk surrounding Phoenix and The Joker kicked up two months ago when reports surfaced that he had signed on for the role in an upcoming solo film about the origins of Gotham City’s Clown Prince of Crime. Phoenix later denied that he had signed for the role, but did quip that the idea “sounds amazing.”
Whether or not Phoenix does end up in the lead role, insiders have told TheWrap’s Umberto Gonzalez that the Joker film — which will be directed by Todd Phillips (“The Hangover”) — will portray character as a failed ’80s comedian, who turned into Batman’s infamous nemesis after bombing with audiences.
The premise is inspired by “The Killing Joke,” Alan Moore’s famed Batman story that was one of the first to give Joker an origin story, and by Martin Scorsese’s 1982 dark satire “The King of Comedy,” which stars Robert De Niro as a delusional comedian who stalks and kidnaps famed talk show host Jerry Langford (played by Jerry Lewis) in the hopes of getting his big break. Scorsese is attached to The Joker project as a producer.
Insiders tell TheWrap that the project is aiming for a production start this summer or fall, but could be further delays for script rewrites.
Phoenix, meanwhile, can next be seen in Gus Van Sant’s latest film, “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot,” which premiered at Sundance this year and will be released by Amazon Studios on July 13.