Todd Phillips’ Joker spin-off is fast becoming a must see just by the names associated with it. If Joaquin Phoenix wasn’t enough of a draw to make you excited, then surely the likes of Robert De Niro could intrigue you? Well, with any luck the vocally Trump hating actor could be joining the cast.

De Niro is currently undertaking talks which could see him play a pivotal role: a talk show host who is somehow instrumental in the Joker’s origin. The casting news doesn’t stop there Frances Conroy – who has starred in American Horror Story and Young Sheldon – is also in talks to play The Joker’s mother, Penny.

Plot direction is something of a myth at the moment, but it is said to be set in 1980’s Gotham City. It will also have a much darker tone than the current set in the DC Cinematic Universe, and with a smaller budget than most Comic book films. It is said to take a more serious, dramatic turn rather than the fun, almighty punch-ups most churn out.

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Todd Phillips is taking the helm of the standalone movie. He has also co-written the script with 8 Mile and The Fighter scribe Scott Silver.

In his heyday, De Niro was the go-to man to portray some hard-hitting characters in films such as Raging Bull and Taxi Driver. He also proved a pretty decent tough guy as a gangster in Goodfellas and The Godfather part 2 in which he plays a younger version of Marlon Brando’s Vito Corleone aka The Godfather. In his later career, De Niro has been concentrating more on the likes of comedy and will be seen in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman where he reunites with Joe Pesci.