A new standalone film about the origin of Batman’s infamous foe the Joker is in the works, Deadline reports. Todd Phillips (The Hangover) will direct the film and is co-writing the script with 8 Mile screenwriter Scott Silver. Martin Scorsese is reportedly attached as a producer.
The as-yet-untitled film will be set in Gotham City during the Eighties and tell the story of how the Joker became a criminal mastermind. The movie will reportedly have the feel of a gritty, hard-boiled crime drama rather than a blockbuster comic book flick. Per Variety, this aesthetic tweak was crucial to securing Scorsese’s involvement.
The new Joker movie will reportedly feature a new actor in the leading the role as well. The villain has previously been played by Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and, most recently, Jared Leto. Leto portrayed the Joker in the first Suicide Squad movie and is expected to reprise his role in the forthcoming sequel, as well as a Harley Quinn spinoff.
Warner Bros. and DC Comics also plan to use the Joker origin movie as a launchpad for a new slate of films that will allow them to expand their superhero universe with unique stories and different actors playing classic characters.
While Phillips is best known for his comedies, which include Old School and Road Trip, as well as The Hangover trilogy, his most recent film, War Dogs, was an action-heavy black comedy about two arms dealers. As for Silver, the screenwriter picked up an Oscar nomination for penning the 2010 boxing drama The Fighter, while his next film, White Boy Rick, tells the story of a teenager who becomes an undercover informant for the FBI.