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Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘Joker’ Origin Movie Greenlit, Eyes Fall Production Start

The film directed by Todd Phillips will be produced by Emma Tillinger Koskoff and executive produced by Richard Baratta

Warner Bros. Pictures announced Tuesday that Joaquin Phoenix will star in an origin story of one of DC’s most notorious supervillains, the Joker.

Under the direction of Todd Phillips, the film centers around the iconic Batman arch nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips’ exploration of a man disregarded by society is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.

Phillips will direct from a screenplay he co-wrote with writer Scott Silver (“The Fighter”). The film will be produced by Emma Tillinger Koskoff and executive produced by Richard Baratta. It begins production later this year.

The project is expected to be part of a yet-to-be-announced new banner under Warner Bros.’ DC Films that will expand the comic-book canon beyond such familiar DC Extended Universe characters as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Jared Leto’s Joker, who appeared in last year’s “Suicide Squad.”

DC Comics routinely publish stories outside the established DC timeline, reimagining characters with tweaks to their origins and settings without altering the DC canon. The new films could do the same.

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.”