Warner Bros want Leonardo DiCaprio to play the Joker in the stand-alone film

Friars Club Icon Award gala to honor Martin Scorsese

In August, Warner Bros announced a slew of new and upcoming films based off the DC Comics universe. Most of the projects don’t seem that great. Like, they’re going to make a stand-alone movie about the Joker and Harley Quinn’s love story, using Jared Leto and Margot Robbie, who starred as those characters in Suicide Squad. That might happen alongside a stand-alone movie about the Joker, which may or may not star Jared Leto. In fact, when the stand-alone Joker movie was announced a few weeks ago, the trade papers took pains to say that Leto probably wouldn’t be asked to reprise the role in that movie. Martin Scorsese is probably going to executive produce it, so I don’t know why any of us didn’t think of this terrible casting choice before, but now sources claim that Warner Bros. is looking at Leonardo DiCaprio for the Joker. Oh, God.

When news broke last week that Warner Bros. is developing a movie detailing the origin story of Batman nemesis The Joker, many were surprised to see the name Martin Scorsese listed among the producers. After all, why would the 74-year-old auteur filmmaker behind everything from Taxi Driver to Silence be interested in making the kind of studio franchise fare he has avoided throughout his career? And why would Warners executives, as brand managers of the extended DC Comics cinematic universe, want a legendarily controlling and free-spending talent involved in its marquee property?

The answer involves a plan worthy of The Joker himself. Sources say Warners will make an ambitious attempt to use Scorsese to bring Leonardo DiCaprio into the world of comic-book movies. Certainly, Scorsese’s involvement in The Joker film, which The Hangover filmmaker Todd Phillips would direct, could elevate and diversify the studio’s contributions to the genre, creating the potential to make awards-worthy films such as Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy. There’s no offer for DiCaprio, and sources say Scorsese’s deal to produce isn’t even done yet. The chances of landing DiCaprio could be slim to none. But the attempt in itself sends a signal to talent that Warners wants to hire serious filmmakers to make serious films.

This plan was not met with applause in all quarters: Insiders say Jared Leto, the actor who portrayed the Clown Prince of Crime in last summer’s Suicide Squad and is slated to reprise the character not just for a sequel but for another spinoff movie (with DC villainess Harley Quinn), was caught off guard by the plans. Leto is said to have made his displeasure with the notion of multiple Jokers known to his CAA agents, and rival agency WME has been using the concern to court him.

[From THR]

Sources go on to insist that this is how seriously Warner Bros is taking the casting choice, that they want to go super-A-list and who’s more A-list than Leo? This is basically the root of every crappy studio decision at this point: they have a stupid scheme to milk more money out of beloved franchises and brands, and instead of treating the franchise with respect, they just think “let’s hire the biggest names we can get and just throw money at them.” Like, did it occur to anyone involved that Leo would be an absolutely awful Joker? I’m not one of those “Leo can’t act” people. I think Leo is a good-to-mediocre actor, depending on the role. He’s not capable of camp, which is what the Joker requires. Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker was so revolutionary because Heath didn’t play the Joker for laughs, but Heath embraced the essential camp of the character and turned that on its head, making the Joker’s absurdity something resembling nihilistic terrorism, which made him terrifying. Does Leo have that nuance as an actor? No. He doesn’t.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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62 Responses to “Warner Bros want Leonardo DiCaprio to play the Joker in the stand-alone film”

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  1. RBC says:

    If they did the movie with the Joker in prison, looking back at his life with Jack Nicholson playing the older Joker, have Leonardo portraying the younger Joker it might work.
    If they can get Martin Scorsese on board, it might be a good film. Leonardo is a decent actor and he could make it work

    • EmilyC89 says:

      You know what really bums me out? I read the list of names who signed that petition supporting Roman Polanski.

      Martin Scorsese’s name is on it.

    • SKF says:

      I think they should look at having an older joker film, that could be really interesting. Where does this character wind up in middle age? My call would be Javier Bardem to play him. He could 100% do the role justice and put his own excellent spin on it.

    • polonoscopy says:

      Ugh, but WHY?

  2. Ayra. says:

    No no no no NO.
    No to Leto, no to Leo, no to a stand alone Joker film. Scrap the whole thing.

    Ugh, they’re a bunch of money loving little..

    • diana says:

      EXACTLY. I dislike Leto immensely and figured I’d be happy with anyone else. Now I want the whole thing scrapped!

      I agree completely with the writer’s description of Leo’s acting.

  3. rachel says:

    He’s never going to accept it anyway.

  4. Kate says:

    Nothing WB is doing makes any sense.

    • third ginger says:

      True. They, like every other show business entity, want to be MARVEL. But MARVEL has a genius for casting. When audiences go to see a dreadful film like SUICIDE SQUAD and make it a hit, they are only going to get more of the same. As to the Joker, Heath was immortal. I have always liked Leo, but this idea is offensively stupid.

  5. Birdie says:

    “I think Leo is a good-to-mediocre actor”. Huh. I mean his private life is questionable at best, but he is no doubt an excellent actor!

    • Mia4s says:

      Disagree. Good actor but not excellent. His range is limited, and he is utterly obsessed with ANGST(!!!!!). Revenant was a physical challenge, not an acting one. He was out acted by his co-stars. He makes excellent business choices and is a brilliant producer, but artistically he’s had one stunning performance (Gilbert Grape); the rest were…good.

      Oh and all this Joker stuff is a massively stupid idea, and I think he would know that (again, brilliant producer) so this story is BS.

    • xo says:

      Different actors radiate different qualities.

      He is a talented actor, but Leo doesn’t strike me as . . .dynamic enough to play the joker well.
      The unhinged, electric quality Heath brought to the role, made his portrayal . . . iconic. Dicaprio, by contrast, feels relatively. . . safe. At least to me.

    • midigo says:

      I agree.
      You know what the problem is? I never fail to go and see his movies, however I always have the impression I am watching Leo playing a character. He makes smart career moves, he can pick the right project, but I don’t think he really serves the stories and the characters he plays,

      • Faye says:

        See, and I have that issue with most A list actors. I can’t unseen them and just see their character and it really bothers me. Even, “the greats” don’t do it for me. It’s always just Meryl as xxx or George Clooney as xxx. A lack of nuance and a big case of overexposure maybe.

    • felixswan2 says:

      Yeah, no. I’m one of those “Leo can’t act” people. That’s why he’s fondly known as Dicraprio. He picks good films to be in, but brings the movie down in my humble opinion! :)

    • polonoscopy says:

      DISAGREE. He’s an mediocre actor. His whole bag of tricks is just modulating volume and tone. but his face totally gives away that he isn’t actually thinking in character or embodying any kind of emotion. But he works with Marty, so… he gets good role.

    • Elisa the I. says:

      ITA, Birdie. His private life is IMO quite problematic but I find him a great actor, from Gilbert Grape to The Departed.
      I can def see him playing the Joker, though I don’t think the Joker character in itself is very appealing / able to attract big crowds?

      • Birdie says:

        Did you know, when he played the character in Gilbert Grape, people were shocked when he came to the movie premiere, because they actually thought he was a person with special needs.

  6. lily says:

    yuck NO. like leto wasn’t enough to destroy it? zeez. let this character rest a bit. let people miss it. Joker is too much hyped up now. And if you really that eager then put someone who can pull it. I don’t know like Tom hiddleston or something. His Loki character comes closer to it and hiddleston can pull off a dark character smoothly.

    • Melly says:

      I agree with everything you said! Hiddleston would be a much better choice. I enjoy when he plays dark characters like Loki or his character in Only Lovers Left Alive

  7. Jegede says:

    Jack Nicholson embodied ‘The Joker’ best IMO.

  8. loislane says:

    WB is loosing the plot in this illogical poursuit of the billions Marvel has been pocketing. I hate it since I am crazy about dc heroes. :’(

  9. HH says:

    DC/WB is just a big question, head scratch, and face palm at this point.

    • polonoscopy says:

      They seem incapable of learning anything, that’s for sure. They had a hit with Wonder Woman by going back to something more hopeful and fun. So now they want… to write a Harley Quinn Joker movie about a fucked up, abusive relationship?? GREAT.

      • HH says:

        Exactly. I enjoy both DC and Marvel, so I’m not one for the rivalry. However, when it comes to the movie universes, there’s no argument that Marvel is getting it right. While everything is a money grab no matter how you slice it, Marvel has taken the time to plan the MCU and tell some good stories.

  10. Honey says:

    I used to find him attractive, but he doesn’t seem to be a guy who gets more handsome with age like George Clooney

    • EmilyC89 says:


      I had pictures on my wall of him when I was a little girl. Now…he’s super unattractive.

    • freewhitebaby7.0 says:

      I’ve never liked Leo, even back when he was a kid on Family Matters (or whatever sitcom it was). He’s never been attractive to me. On the other hand, George Clooney was hot as a $2 pistol back when he was on Roseanne, and still looking good on ER. Now, he’s just another old man trying to hang onto faded looks. I know I’m in the minority, but he didn’t age well IMO.

  11. Babs says:

    Unpopular opinion here, but I don’t like Heath’s joker. I prefer the Joker for laughs. The psychopath Joker makes me very uneasy. Same in Gotham.
    The scene with the disappearing pen makes me laugh though.

    • Islandwalker says:

      I’m with you. I hated Ledgers joker and he always sounded like he had a mouth full of marbles in other movies. His joker was too hateful for me.

  12. Rice says:

    Every time DC gains a bit of credibility (like Wonder Woman), they piss it away (like Catwoman). I know that it’s WB and not really DC, but good grief. Work smart, not stupid.

    • Mia4s says:

      Exactly. It’s like: hey we just had a huge financial and critical hit with a sincere, optimistic, and good hearted super heroine! I know what we should do to capitalize on it! Lots of sick, twisted Joker crap! 🙄

  13. lightpurple says:

    No. Just no.

  14. serena says:

    Dear god, I hated Jared Leto as Joker and I would hate Leo even more in it. Also, a chipmunk Joker? Lol

  15. grabbyhands says:

    No. Just let this one go.

    WB needs to understand that the opportunity for this has long since passed and that fairly or unfairly, it has been tainted by disastrous decision making by DC. Everyone on that collective side of the aisle waited way too long for the lightbulb to come on in terms of creating any kind of cohesive universe and it is too late to do much about it now.

    Scorsese and DiCaprio need to just say Naw, and move on.

  16. Incredulous says:

    *cough* now’s the time to lock in an up-and-comer for the role or go hog wild with an oddball casting *cough* So, Domhnaill Gleeson or Idris Elba?

  17. Mia4s says:

    I am also rolling my eyes at the people saying because Scorsese is involved it is sure to be great. He must see something special! Ummm really? You can’t see what’s more likely happening here? First off, Scorsese is producing, not directing. He can have influence but ultimately this is not his movie. Spielberg produced the Transformers movies….yeah.

    Secondly look at Scorsese’s latest project. He had to go to Netflix for funding, limiting its likely theater run. He’s not a sure thing to get his movies set up at studios anymore. He needed to hustle a bit, make some sure bank. So my assessment here is that if this project goes ahead, not long after you will see WB funding a Scorsese movie. He gets his funding, WB gets to put MARTIN SCORSESE PRESENTS before one of their comic book movies. And the game continues.

    • Bridget says:

      It’s going to be a Todd Phillips movie, not a Scorsese movie. That’s what people are missing. And Christopher Nolan Producing the other movies didn’t exactly mitigate the Zach Snyder crap.

  18. Chinoiserie says:

    I don’t think this is true at all, someone just made a theory based on Scorcese’s involment and new Joker actor. But the new Joker should be younger than Leto.

  19. Jerusha says:

    Jared Leto was the most godawful part of an awful movie, so why DC would want to continue that farce beats me.
    And a standalone Joker movie? Nononononononono!

  20. gobo says:

    I very much doubt that Leo would actually want to invite more comparisons between himself and Jack Nicholson.

  21. JackieJormpJomp says:

    LEonardo DiCaprio acts the same in every movie. I do not think he has been an interesting actor in 20 years.

    • Islandwalker says:

      Agree. He plays leo in every movie. He never seems to connect with the other actors he plays against, especially women. There is something unrelated blue and distant about him.

  22. MellyMel says:

    I love a Leo/Scorsese collab, but this is a huge no. Also Leo would never do this. I know some ppl don’t like his acting style, but he’s one of my favorite actors but I can’t see him doing a comic book character…ever. I kinda wish they would leave the Joker alone for a few more years. Heath was the best to do it imo and I think more time needs to pass before they do a solo film. And I’m not even mentioning Leto cause, just no.

  23. Bridget says:

    If DiCaprio wanted to be in a comic book movie he would have already chosen to be in one – he wouldn’t be a 4th version of a character that someone else has already won an Oscar for. Though I am getting a good chuckle at Leto’s indignation.

  24. Miss M says:

    DC/WB: 👀🙄🤦🏻‍♀️

  25. Ashley says:

    If they’re going to do this,they should cast Jake Gyllenhall,he was amazing in the night crawler,he would pull this off.

    • SALIKA says:

      I love Jake, he’s so underrated – he deserved an oscar nomination for Nightcrawler and Nocturnal Animals (Amy Adams too)

  26. Lindy says:

    I just feel like I can’t be bothered to care about anything DiCaprio is involved in. Part of me is convinced that good acting is rooted in a complex, interesting interior life. He seems so vapid and superficial. He bores me and his more recent films have been underwhelming.

    • freewhitebaby7.0 says:

      You just stated what I think about him but wasn’t able to quite put my finger on. He’s not interesting personally or as an actor. His whole life seems to be about having young models hanging off his arm. I don’t think he’d know what to do with an average-looking, age-appropriate intelligent woman, and he wouldn’t want one of them anyway. He’s boring, and can’t see beyond looks (fascinating, since I don’t consider him even remotely attractive).

  27. DesertReal says:

    This is absurd.
    We don’t need or want a stand-alone Joker movie. Never mind the fact that:
    “We need a bloated, spitting, douche bro with a soul patch to portray the Joker.”
    - Said no one ever

  28. amilu says:

    I thought DiCaprio was pretty darn campy in Django Unchained; so I can’t agree that he’s incapable of camp.

    But I do think he’s the last person I would consider for this role. I think Ashley above me gave a good suggestion in Jake Gyllenhaal.

  29. Sasha says:

    Hmm. Controversial opinion here it seems but I absolutely love Leo and think he’s a fantastic actor. If he played the joker I would be so excited to see what he does with the role.

  30. Sasha says:

    Also for all the complaining about his personal life, have we ever heard about a single unprofessional thing he’s ever done? Why does he have to be settled and dating women his age to have credibility?

  31. Sage says:

    Make the plan, work the plan. WB either never had a plan or they’re panicking and not working their plan for the DC movie universe. They messed up casting Affleck as Batman, and now they’re going to jump ship on Leto.

  32. The New Classic says:

    Basically this article made me really wish Heath was around to do a few Joker movies. Those would have been awesome and I’m sure would have made BANK. He will forever be the ultimate Joker to me.

  33. SALIKA says:

    Leo is a great actor, but he’s way to old to play an origin story,
    Btw this movie shouldn’t even be made, since one of the best things about the joker is that he doenst have a known origin,

  34. Anna says:

    Now his transformation into Jack Nicholson will finally be complete.

  35. Mandy says:

    shame on WB with all the good cards from DC, and they can’t figure out how to do with it