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Joaquin Phoenix In Talks To Play The Joker

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Joaquin Phoenix is reportedly eyeing the role of the Joker in a new 80s-set origins tale from The Hangover director Todd Phillips.

According to sources at Variety, the Oscar-nominated actor was the top choice for the role with some stating that he has already signed on but Warner Bros has not yet provided confirmation. Phillips will co-write and direct the film. He is rumored to have met with Phoenix in 2017 and is waiting for studio approval.

It will exist in a separate timeline from the one in DC’s pre-established cinematic universe which included Suicide Squad, where Jared Leto plays the Joker. He is set to reprise the role in a sequel as well as a spin-off film centered around his relationship with Harley Quinn.

There had been rumors that Leonardo DiCaprio would take on the role but the plan fell through. Phoenix has previously passed on playing both Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the titular role of Doctor Strange.

“I’ve flirted with several of those films, having meetings and getting close, but ultimately it never felt like they’d really be fulfilling,” Phoenix told Time Out in 2015. “There were too many requirements that went against my instincts for character. I’ve been spoiled. I’ve never had to make those compromises. I’ve not met a director yet with one of those films where we go through the script, they say: ‘You know what, fuck this set-piece, let’s focus on the character!’ I understand, but it’s best I don’t do it.”

This year will see him star alongside Rooney Mara in biblical drama Mary Magdalene and Gus Van Sant’s new drama He Won’t Get Far On Foot, which premiered at Sundance in January.

Editor-in-Chief of Movie Marker. Likes: Scorsese, Spielberg and Tarantino Dislikes: The film 'Open Water' I mean, what was that all about?

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Best Popular Category Had ‘Stake Driven Through Its Heart’, But Isn’t Dead Says Oscars President

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John Bailey, the president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (who oversees the Oscars), has spoken candidly about the awards show’s bid to bring in more viewers with a distinct ‘Best Achievement in Popular Film’ award.

You’ll remember it as being the category that suffered a very public and embarrassing controversy in which Academy members openly rejected it earlier in the year, prompting the organisation to ‘temporarily shelve’ their plans until they could conduct a proper review. Speaking at the EnergaCamerimage Film Festival in Bydgoszcz, Poland, Bailey stated that the award had “seemed like a good idea, the board approved it, announced it, but we got a lot of pushback.”

“So the board reconsidered and tabled it – which is not to say that the idea is dead. Even after a stake was driven through its heart, there’s still interest.”

The Academy has a “generous” deal with ABC, who have agreed to fund and air the telecast until 2028. The challenge, in those intervening years, is to somehow save the show from haemorrhaging even more viewers. As Bailey says: “We have another decade, and we’re already starting to deal with the problem. There’s desire to expand the awards to millennials, many of whom do not have TV.”

ABC, who are majority-owned by the Walt Disney Corporation, may take some umbrage with the idea of no longer being the sole home of the Oscars, but one idea that has been repeatedly floating around is to air the telecast on the forthcoming Disney+ streaming service – a more palatable option, perhaps, for younger viewers.

However, when it comes to the concept of new categories that aren’t Best Popular, Bailey was considerably more cagey. Asked if we could see awards for motion-capture, stunt-performers, or achievements in casting, the president said: “A number of different crafts would like to be represented and there are ongoing discussions about creating new branches, but right now we’re trying to reduce the size of the board. However, nothing is written in stone.”

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Pedro Pascal Confirmed To Be Under The Helmet Of The Mandalorian

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Game of Thrones and Kingsman: The Golden Circle actor Pedro Pascal has been officially named as the man under the helmet of the titular bounty hunter of Star Wars: The Mandalorian.

Little is known of the steaming-first live-action series, which will air on Disney+, save for a brief synopsis: “After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic...”

Helmed by showrunner Jon Favreau (Iron Man, The Jungle Book), the series recently announced its first crop of directors. Of note to Star Wars die-hards was the news that Dave Filoni, showrunner of fan favourite animated shows Clone Wars and Rebels, would be directing the series’ premiere episode. Meanwhile, Thor: Ragnarok’s beloved eccentric director Taika Waititi will helm an episode, along with Bryce Dallas Howard (daughter of Solo: A Star Wars Story director Ron Howard), Rick Famuyiwa (Hope), and Deborah Chow (Jessica Jones).

In Star Wars canon, the Mandalorians are a fierce race of armoured warriors that exist in tribal ‘families’, and who – until the dawn of the Clone Wars – largely kept out of the way of the rest of the galaxy. Following the devastation of their kind in the galactic civil war their numbers dwindled, until few remain by the time of the new show (roughly seven years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and twenty-three years before The Force Awakens). The race are an integral part of the Star Wars mythos, and even once warred with the Jedi Knights.

Pascal’s involvement had been heavily rumoured for the past month. The Mandalorian is currently awaiting a release date.

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Garfield Animated Feature In The Works From Director Mark Dindal

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A brand new animated Garfield movie, based on the original comic strips, is currently in the works – with Mark Dindal on board to direct.

Dindal, who also helmed The Emperor’s New Groove and Chicken Little for Disney, will adapt from a screenplay by newcomers Paul Kaplan and Mark Torgove.

Creator of Garfield, Jim Davis, has announced that he will be an executive producer on the project. Davis has been open in the past about how the inception of Garfield was always a cynical, calculated move to create an inoffensive, mass-marketable brand of light humour that could be merchandised and franchised in perpetuity. Davis’ ploy was a success, and at the height of his popularity the orange feline appeared in an estimated 2,580 newspapers and journals, with a reported audience of 260 million individual readers.

20th Century Fox, who will not be financing or distributing this new interpretation of the character, previously unleashed Garfield: The Movie on the world in 2004 – a CG/live-action hybrid family ‘comedy’ directed by Peter Hewitt, with Bill Murray as the voice of the titular cat (Murray famously saw that the film had been written by ‘Joel Cohen’ and signed on without having read the script – only to later discover that the feature was not, in fact, penned by one of the famous Coen brothers). Garfield: The Movie was mauled by critics, but grossed $200 million internationally and spawned a sequel in 2006’s Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties.

No release date for the new, wholly-CG animated version, has been announced.

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