Warner Bros. is courting Leonardo DiCaprio to play The Joker in new origin film

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Of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Leonardo DiCaprio is the one name who has thus far resisted the temptation of a major tentpole franchise. Warner Bros. hopes to change that, however, as the studio is said to be eying DiCaprio for its forthcoming origin movie on The Joker.

Per The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. brought on Martin Scorsese as executive producer with the hopes that he’d be able to court his longtime pupil. Studio sources admit the idea is a long shot, but by presenting the character “as a gritty crime boss in a Scorsese-esque Gotham underground,” executives believe they have a chance of landing DiCaprio.

The Joker origin film, which is to be directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover, War Dogs), will live in a different universe than WB’s ongoing DCEU, which explains why the studio is also moving ahead with two other Joker-themed films starring Jared Leto, including a sequel to Suicide Squad and a Harley Quinn team-up film. That said, THR says Leto was caught off guard by Warner Bros.’s courting of DiCaprio and has “made his displeasure with the notion of multiple Jokers known to his CAA agent.”

THR also reports that Matt Reeves’ Batman film will also be separate from the DCEU and star someone other than Ben Affleck. “The plan is to launch a separate label for these projects to distinguish them from the rest of the DC films,” THR notes, adding that Warners executives are acutely aware of the risks of audience confusion.

More as it develops.

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