Robert De Niro is in talks to take on his first ever comic book movie. According to The Hollywood Reporter, De Niro, turning 75 in August, is negotiating with Warner Bros. to join Joaquin Phoenix in Joker, the origin film helmed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover).
Officially announced at the beginning of July and set for Oct. 4, 2019, the film will feature Phoenix taking on a darker, more sinister depiction of the green-haired DC villain. Phillips co-wrote the script with Scott Silver as a standalone set in Gotham City in the early '80s.
De Niro’s role would be as a talk show host who “instrumental in the Joker’s origin.” Maybe he's his boss? Maybe the Joker's a late night guest who gives an interview even more bizarre than this one?
Though this would mark the veteran’s first comic book movie, it’s reportedly very different from the typical DC Universe flick. The budget is much lower, at $55 million, and it's considered a drama, not an action movie. Filming begins in New York this September.
"It feels unique, it is its own world in some ways, and maybe, mostly, it scares the fucking shit out of me or something," Phoenix told Collider earlier this month of his decision to take the part. "It might as well be the thing that scares you the most."
According to THR, Warner Bros. is still developing a different Joker project starring Leto. The villain is also rumored to appear in the Suicide Squad sequel, as well as the standalone Harley Quinn spinoff.