Warner Bros/DC want Leonardo DiCaprio for The Joker in their Martin Scorcese-produced origin movie

Ben Bussey
UK Movies Writer
Leonardo DiCaprio in studio’s sights for solo Joker movie, to the displeasure of recent Joker actor Jared Leto (credit: WENN, Warner Bros)

Warner Bros are courting Leonardo DiCaprio for the lead role in their in-development ‘The Joker’ origin movie – and reportedly Jared Leto isn’t too happy about it.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio are making an “ambitious attempt” to cast the Oscar-winning ‘The Revenant’ star in the standalone DC prequel, hoping that the creative involvement of DiCaprio’s frequent collaborator Martin Scorcese might grease the wheels somewhat.

However, it is also mentioned that Leto – who was introduced as The Joker in ‘Suicide Squad,’ and is set to reprise the role in future DC Extended Universe films – was “caught off guard” by Warner Bros/DC’s plans.

Leto (himself an Oscar winner for ‘The Dallas Buyers Club’) is “said to have made his displeasure with the notion of multiple Jokers known,” and may be on the brink of moving to a new agent over the situation.

Jared Leto in 2016’s ‘Suicide Squad’ (credit: Warner Bros)

It isn’t hard to see why Leto would be upset; after his performance as The Joker was almost universally panned, having one of the most esteemed American actors of his generation take on the role must seem like salt in the wound.

Still, THR stress that “no offer” has been made to DiCaprio at present, and concede that “the chances of landing [him] could be slim to none.” Significantly, it is also underlined that Scorcese (who directed DiCaprio in ‘Gangs of New York,’ ‘The Aviator,’ ‘The Departed,’ ‘Shutter Island’ and ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’) has not finalised his deal to produce ‘The Joker’ yet either.

However, if Warner Bros/DC cannot lure DiCaprio to ‘The Joker,’ they are said to be after “another A-lister to play the character as a gritty crime boss in a Scorsese-esque Gotham underworld.” (That might rule out a few of the potentials we recently suggested for the role.)

Martin Scorcese directing Leonardo DiCaprio on the set of ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ (credit: Universal)

This news may also draw into question just how much we can really class this ‘Joker’ origin story as a prequel, given that, at 42, DiCaprio is only three years younger than the incumbent Clown Prince of Crime actor Leto. Perhaps it is fair to assume this will be more of a standalone, alternate timeline deal, as some have argued was the case with this year’s ‘X-Men’ spin-off ‘Logan.’

However, THR also point out that Jonah Hill has worked with both Scorcese (on ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’) and attached ‘Joker’ director Todd Phillips (on ‘War Dogs’) – so it seems feasible that, in the likely event of DiCaprio declining, his name might be somewhere down the list.

No release date has been announced for ‘The Joker’ yet, but ‘Suicide Squad 2’ (potentially starring Leto’s Joker) is expected to shoot at some point in 2018. In the meantime, the DCEU continues with ‘Justice League,’ opening 17 November.

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