Last week, sources circled that Warner Bros. was developing a Joker origin story with director Todd Phillips and producer Martin Scorsese. It was also reported that the film would be an origin story, presumably casting a younger actor and leaving Jared Leto, who played the villain in Suicide Squad, out of it completely. Today, a key element to that news bite seems to be fundamentally untrue with The Hollywood Reporter‘s reveal that Warner Bros. is eyeing 42-year-old Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio to fill the role.
Granted, DiCaprio is three years younger than Leto, but this fact does not an origin story make. That being said, DiCaprio is simply at the top of Warner Bros.’ list at this point, and with his longtime collaborator Scorsese in the mix, they believe they may have some clout in nabbing him. But for now, Scorsese’s deal is still not officially signed and sealed either. Still, with their vision set on an actor like DiCaprio, it tells us a lot about the level of prestige the studio is aiming for with their new anti-hero movie.
The film will supposedly take place in 1980s Gotham City as a hardboiled spiritual equivalent to Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. It will exist outside of the DC extended universe and propel the studio’s plans to have multiple actors taking on iconic DC roles (which makes one wonder if this has anything to do with ushering Ben Affleck out of his Batman role in a seemingly natural way.) Such a bold path could either majorly pay off or crash and burn, and Warner Bros. seems to be committing fully to their new game-plan within the superhero tentpole world.
Fear not, Leto is still set to reprise his version of The Joker in Suicide Squad 2, the newly announced Joker-Harley Quinn Natural Born Killers-esque romance, and possibly in Gotham City Sirens (if that film ever officially gets off the ground).