The Joaquin Phoenix Joker Movie Is Happening

Joaquin Phoenix will be the next actor to play the iconic villain.
Joaquin Phoenix will be the next actor to play the iconic villain.
Photo: DC Comics

What once was rumored is now actually happening. Joaquin Phoenix has closed a deal to play the Joker in a spinoff origin film that’s separate from the other DC Universe films.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, and independently confirmed by io9, the film will start shooting in New York in September. Todd Phillips (The Hangover) is directing and co-wrote the script with Scott Silver. It’s described as “exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study but also a broader cautionary tale.”

No release date has been set and it’s expected to have a budget in the $55 million range. That’s relatively cheap when it comes to superhero movies but this is being approached as more of a gritty crime drama than a big superhero movie. And yes, the Jared Leto Joker movie is still in development. It’s unrelated to this. Leto’s Joker is expected to take place in the world of Justice League and Suicide Squad.


While the shock of this news is tempered by the fact we expected to happen, the timing is certainly curious. You can’t ignore that Warner Bros. has two hours staked out next weekend at San Diego Comic-Con, and it seems fairly logical we’d learn more about this film then.

Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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I surely am not the only person who does not understand DC’s strategy. Two separate Joker films in development, with two different actors? One of them outside of the regular universe? I know they don’t want to copy Marvel beat for beat, but I don’t see how you can build up a loyal following when your universe is complete chaos (and oh, by the way, most of your movies so far have sucked).