Official details about the forthcoming origin film about the Joker, the comic-book villain, are finally here: Joaquin Phoenix will star in the Warner Bros. project, with The Hangover’s Todd Phillips directing.
The movie, which begins production later this year, centers around Batman’s arch nemesis and is billed as “an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen,” according to a Monday statement from Warner Bros.
“Phillips’ exploration of a man disregarded by society is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale,” the statement read.
It’s unclear if Phoenix will actually play the notorious DC Comics villain (though that appears to be the case), and a rep for Warner Bros. did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for confirmation.
Phillips, who’s best known for comedies such as Old School and War Dogs, co-wrote the screenplay with The Fighter scribe Scott Silver. The film will be produced by Emma Tillinger Koskoff and executive produced by Richard Baratta.
Previous reports indicated that the movie won’t directly tie into the DC universe that was rebooted in 2013 and led to the latest Justice League team-up films.
The project was announced (and subsequently begroaned) at San Diego Comic-Con last summer, with fans arguing that the character had been overexposed in recent years.
Jack Nicholson and Mark Hamill have previously played the maniacal madman, and the late Heath Ledger earned a posthumous Oscar for his take on the Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight.
Oscar winner Jared Leto played the criminal in 2016’s Suicide Squad and is set to appear in his own spin-off film for the studio.
In 2017, The Hangover star Zach Galifianakis voiced the Joker in the animated The Lego Batman Movie.