Why so serious, Joaquin Phoenix?

Maybe because, per Variety, Phoenix is the top choice to play the Joker in a standalone movie for director Todd Phillips. According to their report, negotiations haven’t begun yet but “Phillips has made it clear that Phoenix is the top choice to star and ... after thinking it over, Phoenix has agreed to the role.”

Perhaps most interesting about this whole situation is that this movie would not be a part of the DC Extended Universe, which already has its own Joker, played by Jared Leto:

The movie would fall 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. Jared Leto most recently 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.

Before Phoenix agreed (at least tentatively) to make the movie, Phillips had tried to convince Leonardo DiCaprio to play the Clown Prince of Crime. Those talks, shockingly, did not pan out.

Phoenix is an incredible actor, one sort of in the mold of a Heath Ledger Joker, where you’re not casting a guy to be funny (although I’ll still go to the bat for I’m Still Here), but to be so incredibly deranged and demented that he brings a scary intensity and edge to the part. Frankly, I’m of the opinion that Phoenix can do anything. If we have to have a solo Joker movie, he’s as good a choice as any to play the part. I just don’t want to see Joaquin Phoenix with a big “DAMAGED” tattoo across his forehead. Promise me that much, and I’m down.

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