Joaquin Phoenix’s darker, grittier Joker movie officially in the works

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Warner Bros. has made it official: Joaquin Phoenix has finalized a deal to play The Joker in a new origin film from director Todd Phillips (The Hangover, War Dogs) and executive producer Martin Scorsese.

The film has been in development for some time, with Phoenix reportedly in talks for months.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the standalone film was picked up by Warner Bros. and will begin filming in NY this September with Phoenix playing Batman's arch-nemesis.

The standalone "Joker" feature will fall under a yet-to-be-announced banner of DC Comics, which gives the studio the opportunity to expand the canon of the iconic comic-book characters with unique story angles that aren't included in its current cinematic universe.

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Phillips is reportedly co-writing the script (with Scott Silver) in addition to directing the film, whose budget of $55 million puts it more in the realm of conventional crime thrillers than effects-heavy superhero CGI epics.

The film will also take place in the '80s and will not follow in the steps of a traditional comic-book movie, but appear more like a gritty crime drama, according to Variety. Even though this Joker pic is happening, Warner Bros.is still developing another one with Jared Leto in the role.

The Hollywood Reporter first reported the greenlight.

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