Variety confirmed the news on Wednesday after the actor told USA Today that he’d be dropping out.
“I’m no longer doing that movie,” he told the outlet. “I’m sure there are 25 guys who can play that part.”
Thomas Wayne first entered the comic-book lore in 1939, the father of Bruce Wayne and husband of Martha Wayne. A gifted physician and philanthropist to Gotham City, his and his wife’s murder would go on to serve as Bruce Wayne’s inspiration to become Batman and fight crime.
Baldwin also cited “scheduling” issues to USA Today, but just earlier on Wednesday, he had taken to Twitter to dispel rumors that his Thomas Wayne would be inspired by Donald Trump. Baldwin won an Emmy for portraying Trump on “Saturday Night Live” last year, and is up for another Emmy for the role this year.
“Let me state, for the record, that I have NOT been hired to play a role in Todd Phillips’ JOKER as some Donald Trump manque,” Baldwin wrote. “That is not happening. Not. Happening.”
Phoenix will star as the titular villain in the Warner Bros. film, which will delve into how he became the Clown Prince of Crime. Todd Phillips will co-write and direct.