Montauk homeowner Robert De Niro is in talks to join director Todd Phillips‘ Joker movie, with Joaquin Phoenix as the infamous Clown Prince of Crime.
De Niro would play a talk show host who has a pivotal role in the Joker’s evolution into Batman’s most iconic villain. Newsday reported this week that the actor’s negotiations are nearly complete.
According to Cinema Blend, the film will be separate from DC cinematic universe (dubbed the Extended Universe) continuity. It has a relatively small budget of $55 million and, THR reports, will be “a character exploration as well as a drama, not a fight-fest,” as opposed to Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War.
Joker is an origin story, set to take place in the 1980s with an old-school gangster atmosphere. De Niro made a name for himself as iconic intense and intimidating presence in films such as Taxi Driver, Cape Fear, The Godfather and Mean Streets throughout the 1970s and 80s. He earned an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for The Godfather Part II in 1975.
Joker or “Mr. J.” as he is lovingly referred to by his psychotic other half Harley Quinn, was introduced through DC Comics’ Batman #1 in 1940. His big screen debut was portrayed by Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton‘s 1989 film Batman, though he previously appeared on the 1966 Batman television show, played by Cesar Romero. From Nicholson in Batman to Heath Ledger’s more unstable interpretation in The Dark Night, to Jared Leto in Suicide Squad, no two movie Jokers have been the same.
Now with this current film, set to debut October 4, 2019, Phoenix will deliver a new interpretation of the Joker, with De Niro bringing his decades of experience as a movie mafia boss to help him along.