Martin Scorsese Is Producing a Joker Origin Film

The Todd Phillips-directed movie is apparently going to feel like ‘Taxi Driver’ and won’t star Jared Leto.

Warner Bros. and DC are currently working on an origin film about the Joker, according to a new report from Deadline, so fans will finally get answers about the Batman villain’s murky past—like why he got that terrible “DAMAGED” tattooon his forehead.

The movie is still in early development, but it already has some big names attached. Martin Scorsese is signed on to produce and The Hangover‘s Todd Phillips will direct. The whole thing is supposed to be a “gritty and grounded hard-boiled crime film” set in 1980s Gotham City, back before the Joker pinned on his acid-filled lapel flower or whatever. Todd Phillips is currently working on a script with screenwriter Scott Silver, who penned 8 Mile back in the day.

Scorsese is apparently lending some influence to the overall tone of the movie, which is said to harken back to films like Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. And while Jared Leto is onboard to continue playing the Joker in the upcoming Harley Quinn spinoff and the next godawful Suicide Squad movie, Deadline says that WB plans to find a new—and probably younger—actor to fill the role for this movie.

Phillips and Silver have a lot of potential plot ideas to sift through, since the Joker has been given a handful of different origins in comics over the years. The Joker’s beginnings as a crook called the Red Hood is arguably the most famous origin for the character, originally appearing in a 1950s Batman comic and later fleshed out in Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke.

Jerry Robinson, who wrote Batman comics in the 1940s and helped create the Joker, dismissed the idea of digging too deep into the character’s background in a quote from Batman and Psychology. “They’ve given many origins of the Joker, how he came to be,” Robinson said. “That doesn’t seem to matter—just how he is now. I never intended to give a reason for his appearance … it takes away some of the essential mystery.”

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