'Deadpool 2' Actress Zazie Beetz Joins DC's 'Joker'; Here's Everything We Know

Update 3: Following her scene-stealing role as Domino in this summer’s Deadpool 2, Zazie Beetz is in negotiations to join Joaquin Phoenix in Joker. The standalone DC villain origin movie has been set for production starting in September and is rounding up supporting cast around Phoenix in the title role. Warner Bros. is also looking for another name actress to play the Joker’s mom.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Beetz would play “a single mother who catches the interest of the man who will become the ‘clown prince of crime.'” Whether that’s a love interest role or not is unclear, but it seems like a major part. And a very different one than the luck-powered Domino, as Joker is going to be a dark and gritty crime drama more than a traditional comic book movie.


Update 2: Soon after making the movie official, DC has announced a release date for Todd Phillips’ standalone Joker origin feature, which also was revealed by Entertainment Weekly to have a real title: Joker. The movie, which will star Joaquin Phoenix in the now-titular role, will open on October 4, 2019. 

While this won’t be DC’s first fall release (Justice League came out last November and Wonder Woman 1984 will be out next November), it will be their first October opening for a superhero movie. And it’s oddly very close to the Wonder Woman sequel, which arrives less than a month later. 


Update 1: Warner Bros. has officially greenlit its standalone Joker movie, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Joaquin Phoenix has also been locked in for the role of the iconic DC Comics character. Filming will begin in September with a budget of only $55 million, which is pretty low for a comic book movie these days. 

(Read our previous report on the casting and then check out everything we know about the movie so far below.) 

Arguably the most iconic comic book villain of all time, The Joker needs an appropriately great actor to play him. In the past we’ve seen Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and Jared Leto portray the Batman nemesis, and now comes news that Joaquin Phoenix is next. Variety reports that the actor is in talks (but not yet negotiations) for the role in an upcoming standalone feature and “after thinking it over,” he has agreed to give it a shot. 

This is the “super dark” 1980s-set Joker origin story that Todd Phillips (The Hangover) is directing for Warner Bros. and maybe will also have Martin Scorsese involved in some way as a producer. Previously the studio had been looking at Leonardo DiCaprio for the lead, but now Phillips is said to be eyeing Phoenix as his first choice. This is an unusual direction for the actor, who isn’t particularly known as a mainstream blockbuster type star.

Additionally, the script for the movie is advancing, with Phillips co-writing with The Fighter‘s Scott Silver. That’s two Oscar-nominees for writing on screenplay duty, because this project isn’t clowning around, as it were. With Phoenix as star, fans should expect something serious, maybe even prestigious, more comparable to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight movies rather than the recent critically derided DC Extended Universe efforts. 

Speaking of the DCEU, though, if it won’t be too confusing for audiences, DC is said to likely still be employing Leto as his version of The Joker from Suicide Squad. He will appear in that movie’s sequel, due next year. Phoenix had reportedly been offered a DCEU role in the past, too, as Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He passed on that and the titular Avenger of Doctor Strange. What made him change his mind this time? We can hope it’s the promise of quality of this movie that swayed him. 

Here’s everything we know about Joker so far:

What is the plot?

Joker will be a dark and gritty crime drama set in the 1980s with inspiration coming from early Martin Scorsese movies. While details are unknown, Warner Bros. describes the story as an “exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.” 

How is this movie related to the DC Extended Universe?

This movie is a standalone feature seemingly unrelated to any other. Jared Leto will continue to portray The Joker, as he did in Suicide Squad, in other installments related to the DC Extended Universe. There is rumor that this movie’s version of The Joker will be connected to The Batman, but that’s currently unconfirmed. 

Who is playing The Joker?

Joaquin Phoenix has the titular role of the Batman archnemesis this time around. Back in April, the actor told Fandango “it could be an interesting character” and that he sees this “as any other movie.” 

Who is the director? 

Todd Phillips, best known for directing The Hangover and its two sequels, is at the helm. 

Who wrote the script? 

Phillips co-wrote the screenplay for Joker with Oscar nominee Scott Silver (The Fighter).

Is Martin Scorsese still a producer? 

We’d heard that Martin Scorsese was involved in some way in the past, but the latest update doesn’t name him, instead crediting only his current producing partners Emma Tillinger Koskoff and Richard Baratta, both having collaborated on The Wolf of Wall Street and the upcoming The Irishman.

When does the movie come out?

Warner Bros. will release Joker on October 4, 2019.