The Joker origin movie is officially a go at Warner Bros.
Joaquin Phoenix recently finalized his deal to star as the arch-nemesis of Batman and shooting is set to begin in September in New York.
Todd Phillips is directing the film and co-wrote the script, which the studio describes as being an “exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.” Scott Silver co-wrote the script.
Warners has yet to stake out a release date for the film, which goes against the grain of most comic book movies that have flags planted years in advance. But the Joker stand-alone pic is meant to be different from other comic book superhero movies.
The project’s budget is in the $55 million range, significantly lower than the tentpoles that dominate the form. And the stand-alone is meant to be darker and more experimental in tone and content (at least as experimental as a studio can be with established brands such as DC), which is described as being akin to a crime drama.
That said, there is a chance that the movie could be ready for release as early as late 2019, depending on various factors.
Warners has a possible second Joker movie in the works as Jared Leto, who played the character in Suicide Squad, now has his own solo film project in development.
Emma Tillinger Koskoff (The Wolf of Wall Street) is producer on the Joker origin stand-alone, while Richard Baratta is an executive producer.
Phoenix, who won a best actor award at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival for Lynne Ramsey’s You Were Never Really Here, next stars in Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on Foot, which opens Friday.