Michael Tran/FilmMagic; DC Comics
James Hibberd
February 08, 2018 AT 02:43 PM EST

Well, this sounds just about perfect: Joaquin Phoenix … as The Joker.

EW has confirmed the Gladiator and Her actor is in talks to take on the icon villain role for director Todd Phillips’ as-yet-untitled origin movie.

First reported by Variety, the three-time Oscar nominee is the top choice for the role.

The most recent actor to take on the role, Jared Leto, is still considered likely to reprise his role in Suicide Squad 2. But he will not be in the Phillips film.

Previously, Leonardo DiCaprio was speculated as circling the role of The Dark Knight’s arch nemesis.

If the deal closes, it will make for a very intriguing hire. Heath Ledger set a perhaps unsurpassable bar for Joker performances in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, yet Phoenix is bound to have a compelling take on the role. His portrayal of Commodus in 2000’s Gladiator stands as one of the century’s finest villain performances.

Leto’s tattooed sharp-toothed Joker was met with decidedly mixed reviews when he debuted in Suicide Squad. One report last fall claimed the actor was perturbed when Warner Bros. began shopping for a new actor for the role.

Warner Bros. had no comment.

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