Three-time Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Joaquin Phoenix is in talks to play the Joker in Warner Bros and Todd Phillips’ untitled Joker origin movie.

While studio negotiations are not yet underway, Phillips has made it clear that Phoenix is the top choice to star in the movie, reports variety.com.

Phillips is on board to co-write and direct the movie. He had met with Phoenix before the new year and was just waiting for the studio’s go-ahead, according to a source.

A fanart of Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker

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Actor Jared Leto, who starred in “Suicide Squad” as the Joker is still on board as the character in the DC universe. Phoenix’s character has no effect on what happens with Leto’s character in future DC films.

The movie falls under a yet-to-be-announced new banner of DC Comics, which would give the studio the opportunity to expand the canon of the iconic comic-book characters with unique story angles that aren’t included in its current cinematic universe.

Leto played the Joker in “Suicide Squad” and is likely to reprise that role in “Suicide Squad 2”, but will not be featured in this film.

Rumours have it that actor Leonardo DiCaprio was the first person approached to star in Phillips’ standalone film, though that didn’t pan out.

Scott Silver will join Phillips as a co-writer on the film, which will delve into what it took for the Joker to become a criminal mastermind.

The plot of the movie will be set in the 1980s and have more of the look of a gritty crime drama than comic-book movie.

Phoenix was considered for another villainous DC role in the past: Lex Luthor in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”, but he passed on that role, which ultimately went to Jesse Eisenberg.

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