Robert De Niro is set to join Joaquin Pheonix in Warner Bros' standalone Joker movie for director Todd Philips. According to The Hollywood Reporter, "De Niro would play a talk show host who is somehow instrumental in the Joker’s origin".
In case you're wondering how this Joker movie fits in with the other Joker movie starring Jared Leto, Suicide Squad 2, and a Harley-Quin/Joker spin-off, simply put, it doesn't. Warner Bros is experimenting with lower budget one-offs to explore different incarnations of its iconic characters. While that may still seem confusing to casual moviegoers, this is a genuinely exciting new direction for DC. I agree that the combination of Todd Philips (The Hangover trilogy), producer Martin Scorsese an 80s backdrop, and Joaquin Pheonix as the clown prince all sounds unlikely, but it's happening, and it might just work.
The first five movies in the DCEU only managed to produce the one genuinely good film with Wonder Woman. It's fair to say that the DCEU has divided fans and critics, but based on the footage screened at Comic-Con for Wonder Woman 1984, and trailers for Aquaman, and Shazam! Warners Bros has listened to the fans. Gone is the misanthropic heroes and dark tone, in its place, lightheartedness, fun, with more attention to making a single good movie rather than endless world building.
The first trailer for Aquaman looks pretty darn good, and Shazam! Now that could be a whole lot of fun if the full film is half as good as the trailer. The DCEU has a habit of putting together a great trailer (come on, that first Suicide Squad trailer made you believe the movie would be awesome) but the finished movies rarely live up to the promise. Wonder Woman proved that they could make something hopeful and hugely entertaining, and it appears as though Warner Bros has taken that onboard entirely. Mix in some lower budget standalone projects, and the future for the DCEU is very bright indeed.
The Hollywood Reporter also revealed that Frances Conroy (American Horror Story), and Zazie Beetz, (Deadpool 2) are also in talks to join the cast in as yet unspecified roles. Joker is on the fast track and will film later this summer for an October 4, 2019 release date.