If you were to tell me that Warner Bros. and DC were casting their new Joker movie by throwing darts at a cork board covered in IMDb print-offs, I would 100% believe you. It’s not that superhero movies are always the denizen of safe casting or predictable choices, but there’s just something about this entire project that baffles me.
To recap: Todd Phillips, best known for directing all three films in The Hangover trilogy, is making a Joker movie for DC. It won’t be part of the DCEU canon, rumors persist that it will be set in 1980s New York, and that the Killing Joke inspired origin story will essentially be Martin Scorsese’s King of Comedy. For a while, Scorsese was even attached as executive producer, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. The lead will be played by three-time Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix (who previously turned down the lead in Doctor Strange), while supporting roles will be filled by Frances Conroy from American Horror Story, Zazie Beetz from Deadpool 2 and Atlanta, podcast host and GLOW star Marc Maron, and some dude named Robert de Niro.
Joining the cast now? Alec Baldwin.
Are you confused yet?
According to Deadline, Baldwin could be taking on the role of Thomas Wayne himself. Admit it, you’re hoping he just does his Trump impression instead. Filming will start early next month, probably after the Venice Film Festival, where Phoenix’s latest film, The Sisters Brothers, will premiere.
For what it’s worth, I don’t think the idea of a Joker spin-off is inherently bad. Actually, I think it’s smart for DC to step away from the expanded universe model and do smaller, more compact projects that don’t cost $300m+ or rely on the strict aesthetics of one director. This may not be the best project to kickstart that new phase with but at least it’s a new plan. Mostly, I’m in it to watch Phoenix on a comic book movie press tour. Oh boy, he’s going to have the worst time ever and it’ll be amazing to watch.
Meanwhile, Jared Leto is waiting by the phone…