Joaquin Phoenix is reportedly in talks to star as the Joker in director Todd Phillips' standalone Joker origin movie, but it sounds like that's news to Phoenix.
In an interview with the French publication Allocine to promote his next film Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot, Phoenix was asked about the Joker movie, but the actor didn't seem to know quite what the interviewer was asking about.
"What movie about a Joker?" Phoenix said. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
While Phoenix's confusion about the Joker movie seems genuine, Variety reported earlier this month that The Master star is Phillips' front runner for the role of the Joker and while studio negotiations hadn't begun, Phillips met with Phoenix last year about the role making it possible that Phoenix is simply playing coy until a deal has been inked. Rumor has it that Leonardo DiCaprio was originally considered for the role, but no deal was able to be reached.
Even with Phoenix's denial that he's connected to or even knows about the standalone Joker movie, when the report surfaced, fans had mixed reactions to the idea of a Phoenix Joker, with many concerned what it might mean for Jared Leto's portrayal of the Batman villain. Leto is set to reprise his role as Joker in Suicide Squad 2, but both Suicide Squad 2 and the standalone Joker film are both expected sometime in 2019, though no release date has been announced for the Joker standalone.
What is known about the Joker film is that it will be separate from the DC Extended Universe films and therefore not connected to Leto's Joker or Ben Affleck’s Batman. The film is set to be co-written by Phillips and Scott Silver with Martin Scorsese attached to the project as producer. The film is said to be an '80s crime film, with a dark and gritty tone that borrows from Scorsese's Taxi Driver and Raging Bull.
Interestingly, this isn't the first time Phoenix's name has come up in connection to a Batman-related role. Before Christopher Nolan revamped the Batman franchise with Christian Bale as the Dark Knight, Darren Aronofsky developed an R-rated Batman: Year One-inspired film and had wanted Phoenix for the role.