Variety first reported that Phoenix was in talks to play the Clown Prince of Crime. As soon as his deal was finalized, the studio gave the greenlight to a September start date with a budget in the moderate $55 million dollar range.
Phillips (“The Hangover” franchise) is on board to co-write and direct.
Jared Leto most recently played the Joker in “Suicide Squad.” According to insiders, the Oscar-winner will not only will be back for the “Suicide Squad” sequel, Warner Bros. is also developing his own standalone movie that will be separate from Phoenix’s Joker project.
Scott Silver will join Phillips as a co-writer on the film, which will delve into what it took for the Joker to become a mastermind criminal. Sources say the story will take place in the ’80s and have more of the look of a gritty crime drama than comic-book movie.
The Hollywood Reporter first reported the greenlight.