Rumors claim that the "You Were Never Here" actor will be playing Joker in the DC villain's origin movie.
Sources say Phoenix has agreed to the role but has not yet entered negotiations with studio Warner Bros., who were reportedly eyeing Academy Award victor Leonardo DiCaprio in September. Leto most recently played the role in "Suicide Squad" and is likely to reprise that role in "Suicide Squad 2", but will not be featured in this film.
The Gladiator star, 43, is Phillips' top choice for the role in his DC movie, which will be produced by Martin Scorsese.
While studio negotiations haven't started yet, according to Variety, Phoenix was approached by Phillips late previous year and early talks have already begun.
Warner Bros and DC are now in the initial stages of the spinoff which will tell the origin story of The Joker.
Joaquin Phoenix to play Joker in Todd Phillips' standalone movie
These films are meant to "expand the canon of the iconic comic-book characters with unique story angles that aren't included in its current cinematic universe", said Variety. Even Leonardo DiCaprio was rumored to have been the first person approached to star in Phillips' standalone film, but that clearly isn't the direction he's going with it. That being said, Phoenix as the Joker will only go forward if the upper echelons at the studio close out a deal.
The as-yet unnamed Joker Origins film is set to be co-written and directed by Phillips.
Sources have indicated that the film will have the feel of a gritty crime drama rather than a conventional comic book movie.
And while Phoenix has turned down several other comic book cinematic roles including Lex Luthor in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice", according to Variety, it would seem that he is keen to experiment with the Joker's character.
Phoenix now stars in the 2018 flick "Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot".
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