"It feels unique, it is its own world in some ways," says the actor in his most candid comments yet on the project. Joaquin Phoenix is speaking out more extensively than ever before about his specific vision for his Joker origins movie, which Warner Bros. officially greenlit this week. Collider landed the first candid comments from Phoenix on the film, a topic he's avoided talking about for the past few months ever since he was first linked to the project. Phoenix told Collider that three or for years ago, he'd asked his manager, "Why don't they want to take one of these characters and just make a lower budget film about it, a movie but a character study, and why not take one of the villains?" At the time, he considered the Joker an untouchable property, as it'd already been explored so thoroughly. When his manager suggested setting up a general meeting at Warner Bros., the actor balked and forgot about it, until word of this movie came up. "It feels unique, it is its own world in some ways, and maybe, mostly, it scares the fucking shit out of me or something. It might as well be the thing that scares you the most," Phoenix said of the project. Todd Phillips is directing the Joker film, which will have a budget of around $55 million and is described as an "exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale." Phillips co-wrote the script with Scott Silver. Unlike most comic book-based properties, the film is going into production without a release date, though it could be ready as soon as late 2019. (Hollywood Reporter)

LeBron James in Talks to Star in Comedy (EXCLUSIVE). LeBron James, scribe Steve Mallory, and James' SpringHill Entertainment have sold an untitled comedy pitch to Paramount Players, with the NBA icon in early talks to star. SpringHill and Mallory have been developing the film for several months. Mallory would pen the script. James would produce with his SpringHill partner Maverick Carter. Jamal Henderson and Spencer Beighley will oversee the project for SpringHill. Ali Bell and Gabby Canton are handling the project for Paramount Players. This would mark James' second big-screen role; he previously played himself in the Judd Apatow comedy "Trainwreck." The sale comes on the heels of James signing a four-year, $154 million contract to join the Los Angeles Lakers -- one of the biggest sporting deals in NBA history. Although James has been busy cementing himself as one of the best basketball players of all time, after just competing in his eighth straight NBA Final, the multi-hyphenate has also been engaged in the film and TV worlds. His company recently sold the spec "Hustle" to Legendary Entertainment, with James producing with Roth/Kirschenbaum. That project allowed him to become a member of the Producers Guild. He is also a producer on the New Line remake of "House Party" as well an exec producer on the Netflix limited series "On Her Own Ground," starring Octavia Spencer. Mallory is best know for his screenplays, working with Melissa McCarthy on the Universal comedy "The Boss" and her upcoming New Line comedy "Super Intelligence." He is represented by WME and Ziffren Brittenham. Mallory is repped by ICM Partners, MGMT Entertainment, and attorney James Feldman. (Variety)


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