Warner Bros. is hoping to start production on the standalone Joker origin movie in the beginning of May. As the studio tries to sort out what to do with the unofficially titled DC Extended Universe following the performance of Justice League, they're also looking for ways to take their flagship property in radically new directions. One of the more surprising projects coming through the pipeline is the aforementioned Joker film, which will be separate from the main DC Films franchise. Martin Scorsese is onboard to produce, with Hangover director Todd Phillips calling the shots.
Recently, The Joker made headlines when it was reported Oscar-nominee Joaquin Phoenix was in talks for the titular role, but there's been little in the way of official developments on the film since it was first announced last year. However, that's liable to change in the near future, since Phillips should begin rolling the cameras in a few month's time.
Jeff Sneider of The Tracking Board took to Twitter to share a listing for the "Untitled Joker Origin Story Project." In addition to mentioning Phoenix as a possibility for the lead role, it also reveals The Joker is eying a production start date of May 1, 2018. See it for yourself below:
Also from early January. I could literally post this shit all day but I CHOOSE NOT TO. Because I care less and less with each passing day. pic.twitter.com/3TqUU1h1Tq— Jeff Sneider (@TheInSneider) February 20, 2018
This matches up with previous reports on the matter, which indicated the film would begin shooting at some point this year now that the script has been turned in. With this being WB's plan, there should be some casting updates announced soon. May is roughly two and a half months away as of this writing, so Phillips and company will want their main ensemble locked in shortly. Besides Phoenix, the most prominent name associated with the Joker role is frequent Scorsese collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio, but he was always seen as a pipe dream and is mostly likely out of the running due to his involvement in Quentin Tarantino's next film. The Room auteur Tommy Wiseau has also thrown his hat in the ring, but that's nothing more than a humorous Internet campaign.
It will be interesting to see who ultimately lands the part of the Joker, as they'll have to work hard to differentiate themselves from previous iterations. The Clown Prince of Crime is no stranger to the big screen thanks to memorable turns by Jack Nicholson and the late Heath Ledger (who won an Oscar in The Dark Knight). Jared Leto's divisive take in Suicide Squad also has its supporters who would like to see him return in the DCEU. With that in mind, it reads as a smart decision to position The Joker as a 1980s-set crime drama, allowing it to be its own thing that doesn't have to be boxed into the DCEU continuity. Ideally, this "Elseworlds" approach to the films will give WB a new avenue to explore down the line.
Source: Jeff Sneider