Warner Bros.

Joaquin Phoenix finalized his deal to play The Joker in DC's upcoming origin story.

So it's really happening.

With DC/Warner Bros.  it's rarely clear what's official and what's just rumored -- especially with all of the back-and-forth reports about Jared Leto's Joker vs. Joaquin Phoenix's Joker.

But The Hollywood Reporter says Phoenix recently closed his deal, and filming on the origin story will begin in New York this September. There's no release date yet, but THR speculated that Warner Bros. could put it on the release calendar as early as next year.

This Joker standalone -- whose title has yet to be revealed --was co-written by Todd Phillips, who is also directing. The studio has apparently described it as an "exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale." It's being compared to a crime drama.

A few months ago, sources told TheWrap this Joker movie would "portray Batman's arch-nemesis as a failed 1980s comedian who becomes the clown prince of crime after bombing with audiences."

This Joker movie  is said to be separate from the DC Extended Universe of "Justice League" and Jared Leto's Joker in "Suicide Squad." THR said it's meant to be more experimental in tone than the DCEU films, and also less expensive with a roughly $55 million budget.

Jared Leto still reportedly has that  solo Joker movie in development, so as of now it doesn't sound like Joaquin's film will definitely replace Jared's.  Joker fatigue is a possibility for audiences, but it depends on how the films differentiate from each other, and when each one arrives in theaters. (If the Jared Leto one happens at all.)

Are you excited about this? Joaquin Phoenix is an exciting actor, and if he was intrigued enough to say yes to this project we'll give it the benefit of the doubt. For now.

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