I know, I know…a lot of these superhero casting rumors—like the unresolved Jake Gyllenhaal is the new Batman one—should be taken with a hefty grain of salt. That said, since this is a Variety exclusive and all but confirms that Joaquin Phoenix is ready to go as the Joker in the upcoming Todd Phillips standalone film—I think it’s pretty damn likely this is item is true.
Phoenix is no stranger to playing creepy scary guys—both on and “off camera” (I’m thinking of his 2010 “mockumentary” I’m Still Here)—and would probably ace this role. In an interesting bit of synchronicity, he was also apparently the first choice to play Batman in Darren Aronofsky’s never-made version of the Dark Knight.
Where this leaves Suicide Squad Joker Jared Leto is anyone’s guess. Even though the Phillips film is a “standalone” theoretically outside the current DC cinematic universe…in the wake of Justice League’s failure, what the heck is the status of that DC cinematic universe, anyway?
Here is what the Variety article has to say about Leto’s future Joker involvement:
Insiders stress that Jared Leto, who starred in “Suicide Squad” as the Joker is still on board as the character in the DC universe and that this Phoenix has no effect on what happens with Leto’s character in future DC films.
Leto and Phoenix are such…similar actors, it just seems like confusing “branding” for me.
The original actor rumored to play the Joker in the Phillips production was Leonardo DiCaprio, but that has apparently not happened.