Let’s get one thing straight: Leonardo DiCaprio is never, ever playing The Joker. And if you believed that even for a minute, the joke’s on you.

Yeah I know, Friday’s internet was riddled with headlines to the contrary — Report claims Leonardo DiCaprio eyed for Joker origin movie! but it doesn’t take the world’s greatest detective to sniff out the truth heist that’s underway here.

Yes, there’s a plan afoot at Warner Bros. to make a Joker origin movie outside the DCEU continuity. And yes, Leo’s Hollywood goduncle Martin Scorsese could maybe possibly sorta potentially be involved, depending on how things go.

But that’s where the truth ends and the baloney begins.

It started with a Hollywood Reporter story by two respected veteran journalists who know for a stone cold fact that Leo is not doing this. And it’s written all over their copy:

There’s no offer for DiCaprio, and sources say Scorsese’s deal to produce isn’t even done yet. The chances of landing DiCaprio could be slim to none. But the attempt in itself sends a signal to talent that Warners wants to hire serious filmmakers to make serious films.

Ahhhh, did you catch that word? 

A signal.

Warner Bros. wants Hollywood to know that it’s serious about this Joker movie thing, see? This is a p-r-e-s-t-i-g-e project, people — they seek a bona fide A-lister, ya got that? 

And now that idea is out there.

So when the studio goons start talking to agents for say, Tom Hiddleston, or Tom Hardy, or Michael Fassbender or James Franco or Jake Gyllenhaal (do NOT run with this, I’m spitballing here), those agents can rest assured that their client is considered in the same echelon as Mr. King of the World himself.

As I wrote last year in The 16 most bogus movie stories of 2016 (and how to spot them), Hollywood plays this game all the time. And they have one reliable tool for getting these signals out: The trade publications. THR, Variety, Deadline — all it takes is for one executive to make one phone call, or an agent to let something just sorta slip out and POW! it’s on the internet in minutes.

In this case, what was written was true! Warner Bros. would obviously be thrilled to have Leonardo DiCaprio play the Joker! Just like I’d be thrilled to have Mario Batali come over and make dinner tonight. (Mashable did not reach out to anyone for comment on this hot nonsense because honestly, what’s the point.)

THR, to its credit, notes how ridiculous this all sounds, in the context of what DiCaprio might actually do with himself over the next few years:

DiCaprio, 42, has become the most in-demand actor in Hollywood despite refusing to star in traditional franchise pictures. Instead, he has limited his collaborators to A-list directors of (generally) original screenplays …

Not to mention that at 42, DiCaprio is hardly “young” compared to Leto, who’s 45. None of this makes any sense because it’s not happening, full stop — but that doesn’t stop Warner Bros. Wants Leonardo DiCaprio for Joker Origin Movie! from being a good headline on a late-summer Friday.

Floating these BS balloons has its inherent risks, of course. THR also notes that Jared Leto, who’s already played The Joker in Suicide Squad and is lined up for a Joker and Harley Quinn flick, may be nursing hurt feelings:

This plan was not met with applause in all quarters: Insiders say Jared Leto … was caught off guard by the plans. Leto is said to have made his displeasure with the notion of multiple Jokers known to his CAA agents, and rival agency WME has been using the concern to court him.

Now that you mention it, it’s almost like someone at WME could even be behind this news leak as a way to create chaos and discord to haul in a big client — but that would be too good. 

Too dark. Too Joker-like.

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