Martin Scorsese has been an executive producer on Todd Phillips‘ Joker since it was announced last year. While this is the filmmaker’s first superhero film, Warner Bros.’ vision for the character is what attracted Scorsese to the project. According to previous reports, WB is planning to expand the DC universe with new and unique storylines that aren’t a part of the current DC Extended Universe. Phillips says the film will be a gritty and hard-boiled crime drama in the same vein as Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and The King of Comedy.
Now we are getting to see how much of an influence Scorsese is having on the film. According to new reports Robert De Niro, who starred in all three of the aforementioned influences, and Frances Conroy, who starred in The Aviator, are currently in talks to join titular starJoaquin Phoenix and recently reportedDeadpool 2 star Zazie Beetz on the cast of the new the origins film. More on the story below.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, should De Niro sign on, he would play a talk show host who is somehow instrumental in the Joker’s origin. This isn’t too far off from The Killing Joke, where the Joker first started out as a failed comedian before becoming the Clown Prince of Crime. Scott Silver and Phillips’ screenplay is said to be “exploration of a man disregarded by society” that is “not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.”
Previous reports have said that the film would draw inspiration from Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, a story arc which explored the Joker’s origins. In it, we saw an unnamed engineer quit his job to be a stand-up comedian. Unfortunately, he is awful at it, and he then turns to a life of crime by helping a gang of criminals break into the chemical plant he used to work at. Unfortunately, things do not go as planned, and in a cruel twist of fate, the man falls into a vat of chemicals, which then turn him into the Joker.
According to The Wrap, Conroy would play the Joker’s mother should a deal be agreed upon. The actress is no stranger to the DC universe. She played Ophelia in another Batman spinoff, 2004’s Catwoman, and voiced Ma Kent in 2011’s All-Star Superman and 2013’s Superman: Unbound.
If Zazie Beetz does sign on to the film, she would play a single mother who catches the interest of the man who eventually becomes the Joker.
Unlike some of the films of the DCEU, Joker would have a relatively smaller budget. Previous reports have said it would be budgeted at $55 million.
Filming is expected to begin in September in New York for a planned October 4, 2019 release.