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The Joker's Mom Will Play A Big Part In Joaquin Phoenix's Joker Origin Movie

Beyond lead actor Joaquin Phoenix, DC's Joker origin movie is still shuffling through its casting options. But thanks to the selection process, we've gotten a new idea about the identity of one of the movie's major characters — apparently, the Joker's mom.

According to film reporter Umberto Gonzalez, writing on Twitter, producers of the untitled Joker origin movie courted none other than Academy Award-winning actress Frances McDormand to play the Joker's mother, indicating that the character will play a significant role in the story. 

If McDormand's high profile alone isn't enough of a clue, Gonzalez also specified, "They want a name for the mom." (For the record, McDormand said no to the offer.)

Writing for TheWrapGonzalez previously reported on the general premise of the Joker origin movie, confirming that the Martin Scorsese-produced film would center on the Joker's beginnings as a failed stand up comedian whose career plateaued in the 80s. After his act fails to set the world on fire, he starts a new career as the Clown Prince of Crime.

Beyond the basic premise, plot details for the Joker origin movie have remained elusive. But the idea that the production is seeking a bona-fide Serious Actor to take on the role of the Joker's mom indicates that she'll play a pivotal part in the story, or at least the Joker's own personal development.

An enigmatic character, the Joker's parents have never really played into any of his appearances over the course of nearly 80 years. But with the character having a reputation as the antithesis of Batman, a hero whose entire identity stems from the death of his parents, maybe it was inevitable that the Joker would end up having his own tortured family history play out on screen.

Considering what we know about the Joker's personality, one would assume that the mother character is being set up as a parent who sucks so much that her child goes insane. That's just speculation from us, but it's also something we've seen before in any number of serial killer stories. It's a trope that could reasonably recur here — except this serial killer grows up to fight Batman.

Alternatively, they could go the other route and make the Joker's mother a ray of sunshine who was cruelly slain by the Joker's father or some other villain — one of the possible origin stories referenced by the Heath Ledger version of the character in 2008's The Dark Knight.

Anyway, this is intriguing stuff, and it's hard to have a negative opinion about it. (Unless the mom is named Martha, because that would be hilarious.) After all, the Joker is an endlessly mutable character that lends himself to any number of possible origin stories; If you'll indulge us, that's all kind of part of the joke. Creating a Psycho-esque origin story for the psychotic Joker seems like it could be a fun way to play with some well-worn tropes in a comic book context, right? We're curious, at least — especially curious about who the production will ultimately cast.

No release date has yet been determined for the Joaquin Phoenix-starring Joker origin movie, which is one of a handful of movies currently being made that somehow involves the character. With the film expected to begin production this year, we could reasonably expect to see it in theaters by 2020, or as soon as late 2019.