Warner Bros. Pictures and DC are in the early stages of developing a Joker origin movie, which The Hangover‘s Todd Phillips will direct and Martin Scorsese will produce. The film is said to feature a different, possibly younger actor than current portrayer Jared Leto (age 45), and now Heat Vision is reporting that Warners may be eyeing 42-year-old Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant, Titanic) to play the part of the villainous clown. Although hiring the gifted DiCaprio (who has never appeared in a comic book movie) may seem like a longshot, the studio is hoping to use the pull of his longtime collaborator Scorsese (Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island, The Wolf of Wall Street) to bring him into the fold.
Sources say there has been no formal offer to DiCaprio yet, nor has Scorsese’s deal to produce the movie even closed, though it does give us an idea of the caliber of actor and level of prestige Warners is going for with the project. If DiCaprio passes, expect another actor of equal A-list status to take the part. It’s also said that Jared Leto was displeased with the news of another Joker stealing his thunder.
The Joker origin film will likely be a gritty hard-boiled crime film set in an early-’80s Gotham City meant to evoke the grounded feel of Scorsese’s films like Taxi Driver. It will be the first film under a new banner that Warner Bros. has yet to name, but which will expand the canon of DC Comics properties and create unique storylines with different actors playing the characters.
Todd Phillipsis currently co-writing the script with 8 Mile‘s Scott Silver and will co-produce with Martin Scorsese. There is no tentative release date.
The Joker has previously been played on the big screen by Jack Nicholson in Batman, by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, and by Jared Leto in Suicide Squad. Leto is still set to reprise the character in the Suicide Squad sequel and the Joker/Harley Quinn romance movie being directed by Crazy Stupid Love filmmakers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (which is said to be in the vein of Natural Born Killers). There’s also still the possibility for Leto to appear in the Suicide Squad spinoff Gotham City Sirens, though the status of that film is unclear.