Joaquin Phoenix is reportedly in talks to assume the villainous role of The Joker in an upcoming Batman prequel. The film is set to chronicle the early years of the Crown Prince of Crime, and how he became the free-wielding harbinger of doom who has made Gotham City and veritable playground for wrongdoing. 

Variety reports that there is no concrete studio talks as of yet, but Todd Phillips is slated to write/direct the forthcoming feature. Phillips had allegedly met with Phoenix sometime in December to successfully convince the Inherent Vice actor to assume the role of The Joker. The pair is just waiting for the green-light from a studio in order to begin pre-production. The film is set to take place in the 1980s, and will primarily focus on the events that led The Joker to become iconic deplorable with a penchant for terror. The as-yet-untitled project will assume the style of a crime drama as opposed to a typical comic book hero production. 

Insiders have revealed that Jared Leto's iteration of the famous villain, last seen in 2016's Suicide Squad, will continue to play out in other DC Comics projects, as Phoenix's film will have no effect on Leto's role whatsoever. 

The film would be the first in a new strain of DC Comic films, giving the studio a chance to expand their repertoire and create unique narratives and character pieces that are not a part of their current cinematic universe.