Last week, as Comic-Con began, Warner Bros. officially confirmed the Joaquin Phoenix-starring Joker film that would be directed by Todd Phillips, produced by Martin Scorcese, and already had a release date of October 4, 2019 (See the announcement here). This confidence to announce it so directly came with the fact that a script was already in fact complete, with the story set in Gotham City in the 1980’s and it will deal with the origin of the Clown Prince of Crime. And with the film not bound by the main DCEU films (Now called the “Worlds of DC”), the film has more room to develop on it’s own terms. Now, it’s all about the casting which so far has Phoenix as the Joker and actress Zazie Beetz as a single mother who catches the attention of the Joker prior to his transformation. Now, the cast might be getting a little bigger.
While it was rumored last Thursday, it’s been confirmed today that Robert De Niro is now officially in talks to join the film. A long time collaborator of Scorcese (In fact, he is currently working with the director on The Irishman), this would be De Niro’s first comic book film. The role he is reportedly up for is a talk show host, more specifically a radio shock jock who is somehow instrumental in the Joker’s origin. Adding to that, actress Frances Conroy is also reported today to be in talks to play Penny, the mother of the Joker.
Known for her work in morbid shows like Six Feet Under and American Horror Story, Conroy as an addition to the cast is an incredibly good sign for the film’s quality and style. De Niro, while having not led a big film in years, has always managed to be an effective actor even in ensembles. With his recent focus on being political manic towards President Trump, De Niro seems in the perfect emotional and characteristic state to play a shock jock who, I bet anything, will push the Joker over the edge into his legendary state of madness. Funny enough, Conroy and De Niro had previously played a married couple in the 2010 film Stone so this would be a reunion for them if they were both cast.
For now, it’s guess work and hope that can be crushed in an instant. The titular character of this film would get a kick out of that I think. Stay tuned!