Following reports last week that Warner Bros. is currently developing a movie detailing the origin of Batman’s archenemy The Joker, the press and public were taken by surprise to see Martin Scorsese’s name in the list of producers on the film. Could it be that Scorsese has finally, after all these years, decided to step into a big franchise because the project is that good, or is there another reason why the studio wants him around specifically for this movie?
Well, it now seems that WB’s thought process in bringing the 74-year-old filmmaker on board was a smart move in an attempt to land none other than his good friend and long-time collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio for the starring role, according to THR. The Joker Origin film is said to be a standalone title separate from the line-up of DCEU movies, Suicide Squad being one, and perhaps something more akin to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Of course, we’ve already seen one new Joker in Suicide Squad and although Jared Leto’s take on the crowned prince of crime was not applauded by everyone, the film only offered us a brief look at the character and we hoped to see more of him in the future. That being said, it was clear from the time of the movie’s release that Leto was not too pleased with the amount of screen time he had received, and so the actor’s relationship with the studio may very well be on shaky ground already. With WB now going after DiCaprio to play another Joker, even though not to replace Leto, it may still be difficult for the 45-year-old to see eye-to-eye with its decisions on this one either.
On the other hand, from the studio’s perspective it’s a very tantalising opportunity to have DiCaprio onboard, with The Hangover director Todd Philips already signed on to helm the movie also. As for Scorsese’s involvement, it may very well be that he is just a through way for Warners to get to DiCaprio and therefore his actual involvement with the project itself may be more minuscule.As for public reception, it is somewhat of a risk to have one set of films that are connected to one another and have reoccurring characters that the audience know, and then to have another set of standalone movies that feature the same characters being played by different people telling different, one-off stories. It’s clear to see there could be some confusion here. However, the concept could play to WB’s advantage seeing as they would probably have even more DC superhero content to put out each year, and continue to build a light-hearted, family-friendly universe, while also luring top-tier talent to come in and create more Oscar-calibre standalone titles, as seems to be the case with the Joker Origin idea.
The setup would allow for the studio to explore more of what makes the MCU so popular with the wider audience through the DCEU, but also allows for a space to experiment with film ideas that are infused with the darker and more gritty Nolan and Snyder-esque takes on the DC world and its characters.
The Joker Origin film is yet to receive an official title and release date.