Joaquin Phoenix in Early Talks to Play Joker in Todd Phillips ‘Joker’ Origin Movie

Insiders caution final negotiations are not yet in place

Joaquin Phoenix is in early talks to the play Joker in Todd Phillips’ “Joker” origin movie, an individual with knowledge of the project tells TheWrap.

Phoenix met with Phillips last year, but it hasn’t moved beyond that as insiders caution that no negotiations or deal are in place. According to insiders, Leonardo DiCaprio and Joaquin Phoenix were always the top choices and DiCaprio met numerous times with Phillips about the role.

The project is expected to be part of a yet-to-be-announced new banner under DC Films that will give Warner Bros. the opportunity to expand its comic book canon with unique stories focusing on these characters outside of the DC Extended Universe.

Phillips will co-write the untitled Joker origin film with Scott Silver. The story will take place in early-’80s Gotham and will launch the character with a different, possibly younger actor than Jared Leto, who reintroduced the villain in last year’s “Suicide Squad.”

Phillips is best known for writing and directing the “Hangover” franchise for the studio. He last wrote, directed and produced “War Dogs,” starring Miles Teller and Jonah Hill.

Silver’s recent credits include “The Finest Hours;” he also wrote the upcoming crime drama “White Boy Rick.”

Variety first reported the story about Joaquin Phoenix’s involvement.