On some level, the upcoming Joker origin film warrants skepticism. Jared Leto’s portrayal of the character in Suicide Squad remains a divisive moment amongst DC fans, with many perceiving it as proof of the DCEU’s shaky foundation. This isn’t helped by the fact that Leto WILL reprise his role in a separate solo Joker film under the new Worlds of DC branding, which raises major continuity questions. However, no one can deny Joaquin Phoenix’s talent, so it’s safe to assume that his performance will be relatively grounded by comparison.
Now, according to Variety, Robert De Niro is currently in talks to star alongside Phoenix. While De Niro has kept his distance from the superhero genre during its ten-year boom, director Todd Phillips’ desire to give this movie an 80’s crime tone ultimately enticed him. According to sources, he will be playing a talk-show host whose smug verbosity ultimately contributes to the Joker’s madness and rebirth as the Clown Prince of Crime. The character is a deliberate role-reversal of De Niro’s performance in the 1982 Scorsese crime thriller King of Comedy, in which he played the mad comedian trying to win the approval of a talk show host.
Production for the untitled Joker movie begins this fall. The film is currently set for an October 4, 2019 release date.