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WB Want Joaquin Phoenix For 'Batman Vs. Superman' Villain, Actor Also Up For Gus Van Sant's 'Sea Of Trees'

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist December 18, 2013 at 3:37PM

Casting a superhero movie isn't just about finding the right person for the role (though that is a big part of it). It involves finding an actor or actress who will be fine with a production (and post-production) schedule that will run months upon months long, who will tolerate acting against green screens and most importantly, will grin and bear it through a press cycle that will have every media outlet on the planet grilling them about a project they have to (usually) keep secret about. So while it's fun to imagine Joaquin Phoenix being a villain in "Batman Vs. Superman," all we'll say is: fat chance.
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Joaquin Phoenix Venice

Casting a superhero movie isn't just about finding the right person for the role (though that is a big part of it). It involves finding an actor or actress who will be fine with a production (and post-production) schedule that will run months upon months long, who will tolerate acting against green screens and most importantly, will grin and bear it through a press cycle that will have every media outlet on the planet grilling them about a project they have to (usually) keep secret about. So while it's fun to imagine Joaquin Phoenix being a villain in "Batman Vs. Superman," all we'll say is: fat chance.

Variety has the news that Warner Brothers "wants" the actor for the role, though no offer has been made. And while the part is being kept under wraps, the trade says it's "likely Lex Luthor." But again, before you get too excited, let's also remember that just a few days ago, the Los Angeles Times published a full article about their encounter with Phoenix, doing the rounds for another WB property, Spike Jonze's "Her." And he was testy, difficult, combative and mercurial—not exactly what you want your leading man to be, while trying to promote a movie about a guy who falls in love with the voice of an operating system (ie. a hard sell). Now try and imagine Joaquin Phoenix getting through a roundtable talking about Batman....

That said, the material should be compelling regardless, with THR reporting that Ben Affleck's bud Chris Terrio, of "Argo" fame, has been brought in to write a new draft of the script, which of course was kicked off by David Goyer. And with production slated to begin next spring, we reckon it's more touching upon than any kind of major overhaul.

Anyay, back to Phoenix. More likely in our eyes is the actor jumping to work with Gus Van Sant on "Sea Of Trees," which he is "weighing an offer" for. He's already worked with the filmmaker before ("To Die For"), and frankly it just seems like the kind of material that is much more creatively fulfilling for someone like Phoenix. (Provided there aren't two different proects called "Sea Of Trees"-- we sorta doubt it) the script by Chris Sparling ("Buried," "ATM") just landed on the 2013 Black List and it sounds kinda great. Here's the synopsis: 

An American man takes a journey into the infamous “Suicide Forest” at the foothills of Mount Fuji with the intention of taking his own life. When he is interrupted by a Japanese man who has had second thoughts about his own suicide, and is trying to find his way out of the forest, the two begin a journey of reflection and survival.

Again, stranger things have happened and Phoenix could be on our screens a couple years from now scheming the demise of Superman, but something tells us he'll take a different route. Until we know more, here's a new TV spot for "Her."

This article is related to: Joaquin Phoenix, Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice, Gus Van Sant, Sea Of Trees


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