Joaquin Phoenix has officially signed on the dotted line to lead the cast as The Joker in a new stand-alone movie for DC Films and Warner Bros. Pictures. Todd Phillips (The Hangover series) is directing for the studio. Filming is expected to begin this September in New York, so reports The Hollywood Reporter.

The trade says that the film will be an “exploration of a man disregarded by society [that] is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.”  The budget is reportedly in the $55 million range.

This is quite a bit lower than most DC Films, but this one is not connected to any of the films we’ve seen from the studio in recent times. It is said to be darker in tone and apparently more of a crime drama.

A spin-off from Suicide Squad featuring Jared Leto as The Joker is also in the works, but will be its own thing and nothing to do with Phillips’ movie.

Phoenix will next be seen in Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot which is released in North America this weekend. We caught the film at the Berlinale earlier this year and you can read our review at the end of the link above.

More on Phoenix and Phillips’ Joker movie, which remains untitled, as soon as it comes our way.