Warner Bros. is officially taking stock in its bevy of DC comic book characters and well of available storytelling to develop a brand new origin story centered on Batman’s fearful nemesis The Joker, according to Deadline. The studio is working with Martin Scorsese to produce and develop the flick, with Todd Phillips (The Hangover) and Scott Silver (8 Mile) currently working on a screenplay. Phillips will also be directing the film.
The Joker has always been a major player in Batman and Gotham City related DC films and television shows, with the character memorably being portrayed by three different actors on the big screen – Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger (who won a posthumous Oscar for his performance), and most recently, Jared Leto in Suicide Squad (a most contentious character in that film). Despite several different iterations, The Joker remains one of DC’s most hyped-up villains, likely because of the dark theatrics and twisted psychology associated with the character.
Leto is returning to the role in Suicide Squad 2 and possibly in Gotham City Sirens, but will not be utilized in this new origin story spinoff. Warner Bros. hopes to launch a new face into the role – someone who is presumably younger – and usher in a new era and fanbase for the character. Reports say that the film will be a 1980s city flick, falling in line narratively and aesthetically with Scorsese’s Taxi Driver or Raging Bull, building upon and digging deeper into The Joker’s gritty past.
Phillips most recently directed the Jonah Hill-Miles Teller movie War Dogs. Prior to that, his last writing and directing credit was for The Hangover III. Currently, he has re-teamed with Hangover‘s Bradley Cooper to produce A Star is Born.