Variety reports that Phillips met with Phoenix to play the lead character in his Joker origin movie for Warner Bros. Meanwhile, Matt Reeves ("War for the Planet of the Apes") is still on board to direct a Batman solo movie that is involved in the larger DC extended universe.
According to the outlet, negotiations have not yet begun between the actor's camp and the studio, but Phillips has anointed him as the top choice.
So to summarize, we are getting at least three separate film projects from Warner Bros. and DC about the Joker.
The as-yet-untitled film will take place outside the current DC movieverse.
Leonardio DiCaprio was reportedly considered for the role before Phillips approached Phoenix.
One is from Crazy Stupid Love's Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who are crafting a "criminal love story" focused around the relationship between Jared Leto's Joker and Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad. The actor was also eyed by Disney-Marvel to play the titular hero in Doctor Strange, but passed due to the lengthy picture requirement such a contract would carry.
The new Joker film will be written and co-directed by The Hangover director Todd Phillips. Two different film Jokers is only a small step beyond that, and Phoenix would no doubt provide his own unique but twisted interpretation to go into a pantheon that already includes showstopping performances by Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger. In fact, the movie has previously been described as a crime thriller set in an early 1980s Gotham City, with the plan being to evoke Martin Scorsese's classic neo noir, Taxi Driver (1976), except, you know. with a lot more smiling.