Frances Conroy is in talks to play the future Clown Prince of Crime's mother in DC's Joker origin movie. Joaquin Phoenix is starring in the film as the man who would be Joker, with Todd Phillips (The Hangover, War Dogs) directing and cowriting the script alongside Scott Silver (The Fighter).
Phillips' Joker movie has started to come together quickly since Phoenix was confirmed to star, just a couple weeks back. The film is now set to begin production in New York this September, with an official October 2019 release date target. In addition to being a lower-budgeted affair compared to DC's other recent big screen ventures, Joker will take place outside of the DC Films or Worlds of DC continuity, and instead serve as the first release for a separate banner featuring one-off, non-canon DC adaptations. Robert DeNiro is now formally in talks to join the Joker cast and he's not the only prestigious name circling a supporting role in the movie, either.
According to The Wrap, Conroy is now in negotiations to play the future Joker's mother, Penny, in Phillips' DC movie. Penny is described in the leaked Joker casting breakdown as a 60-74 year old woman whose health is fading to the point that she's practically bed-ridden in her Lowest East Side apartment. The character description further reveals that Penny is "obsessed with her former employer" and struggling to accept her gloomy fate, when her grown son (Phoenix) moves back in with her. It was also reported that France McDormand passed on the role of Penny, earlier this month.
In addition to DeNiro and Conroy, Deadpool 2 and Atlanta's Zazie Beetz is in talks to costar in Joker as a single mom who catches the eye of Phoenix's proto-Joker. The latter himself is reportedly a tragic protagonist reminiscent of DeNiro's Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver, in the sense that he aspires to do good but is eventually consumed by his personal demons. Phillips' film has been described as a gritty character study for related reasons, as it explores the events that push Phoenix's would-be hero over the edge and ultimately transform him into one of Batman's greatest enemies.
Golden-Globe winner Conroy is no stranger to dark character-focused genre fare either, as evidenced by her celebrated work on shows like Six Feet Under and American Horror Story. In general, the casting and descriptions of Joker's plot and characters suggest that Phillips' DC adaptation will push even further into the realm of grounded storytelling than such mold-breaking superhero comic book movies as Logan before it. Who knows: if all goes well, Joker could end up being a legitimate awards season contender, the way it's taking shape.
Source: The Wrap
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019