See what can happen when you heckle the wrong comedian?

Pieces are coming together for Warner Bros./DC's Joker origin story, not starring Jared Leto. Joaquin Phoenix is reportedly close to a deal to play the Joker in director Todd Phillips' movie.

"Insiders" told TheWrap that this Joker movie "will portray Batman's arch-nemesis as a failed 1980s comedian who becomes the clown prince of crime after bombing with audiences." (Talk about thin skin -- you become a supervillain 'cause of a tough crowd?)

As TheWrap noted, this direction does tie the film to Martin Scorsese. Fans were surprised to see the legendary director's name come up as a producer of the film, alongside Phillips as director/producer of "The Hangover" and "War Dogs."

Scorsese directed the 1982 dark satire "The King of Comedy," starring Robert De Niro as deranged aspiring stand-up comedian, Rupert Pupkin.

TheWrap's insiders said this new Joker origin story will include nods to Scorsese's film. There's also a graphic novel tie in "The Killing Joke," which showed the Joker as a struggling stand-up comedian who snapped after "one bad day." Phoenix is 43-years-old, so this sounds like less of the typical youth-centric origin story and more about an adult man losing his sh*t.

There's already a warning in TheWrap's story that -- despite production aiming for a mid-to-late 2018 start -- there may be a delay for rewrites. Those rewrites are said to be happening right now, with Phillips and Scott Silver ("The Fighter," "8 Mile").

Since the film is still in the writing and rewriting stage, and Phoenix isn't completely confirmed yet, the direction could shift along the way. That would hardly be new for the DC world, even if this would be separate from the DCEU movies and fall under the new banner.

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The King of Comedy Movie Poster
The King of Comedy
PG1983
Based on 13 critics

Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro) is a failure in life but a celebrity in his own mind, hosting an imaginary... Read More

categories Movies