Joaquin Phoenix was Darren Aronofsky's first choice to play Batman in the early 2000s, and Gary Oldman may see him as the best candidate to replace Ben Affleck as the Caped Crusader. But Todd Phillips (The Hangover) feels that the Gladiator star would be even better as The Joker.
Variety recently reported that Phoenix is Phillips' "top choice" for the lead role in his untitled 1980s Joker origin story. We'd previously heard that Leonardo DiCaprio had been approached about the role, but things "didn't pan out", so the director set his sights on the 43-year-old Phoenix.
According to Variety, no negotiations have taken place. However, Phillips did meet with Phoenix late in 2017, and he's waiting for Warner Bros. to give him the go-ahead. The three-time Oscar nominee – who passed on playing Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Doctor Strange – gave the Joker some consideration and has reportedly reached a verbal agreement with Phillips.
As previously reported, The Joker movie would have a place under a new, still-unannounced banner that would exist outside the existing DC Films shared universe. As such, the gritty crime drama would have no effect on Jared Leto's future as the Batman nemesis. He'd continue in the unofficially-titled DC Extended Universe as The Joker, beginning with Gavin O'Connor's Suicide Squad 2.
Phoenix is one of a select few actors who are versatile enough to be considered for both iconic roles. It would be interesting to debate which role would be a better fit.
Check out this cool BossLogic fan art piece of Phoenix as the iconic DC supervillain!