By Dave McNary, Variety
Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who direct and exec produce NBC’s This Is Us, are in final negotiations to direct the villain movie as part of the expanding DC Entertainment universe.
Leto and Robbie will reprise the roles they played in the studio’s 2016 supervillain mash-up Suicide Squad. The studio has not unveiled any logline other than a “criminal love story.”
And the Joker-Harley Quinn project is separate from Warner’s recently unveiled standalone Joker origin movie being developed as a potential directing vehicle for Todd Phillips of The Hangover — which will not star Leto.
Ficarra and Requa directed Robbie and Will Smith in the 2015 heist movie Focus. Their other big-screen credits include I Love You Phillip Morris, Crazy, Stupid, Love and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Warner Bros. has been attempting to take advantage of Leto and Robbie — the two most popular stars of Suicide Squad, which received underwhelming reviews. The film, directed by David Ayer, was a solid box-office hit, grossing $745 million worldwide and the studio subsequently announced that it was working on a Suicide Squad sequel.
WB revealed in December that Robbie and Ayer were re-teaming on the female DC villains movie Gotham City Sirens, based on a comic series launched by DC in 2009 with the Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy. The new Joker-Harley Quinn project appears to have superseded Gotham City Sirens at this point.
Warner Bros. has been attempting to exploit the DC characters above and beyond its mainstay Batman and Superman characters to compete effectively against the ongoing success of the Disney-Marvel tentpoles. It succeeded this summer with the impressive performance of Wonder Woman as the fourth installment in the studio’s DC Extended Universe, which launched with 2013’s Man of Steel, followed by last year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad.
Its next entry will come on Nov. 17 with Justice League, which will feature Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash and Ray Fisher as The Cyborg with Zack Snyder directing. The sixth entry is the Aquaman standalone movie, starring Momoa with James Wan directing. That movie, which began shooting in May in Australia, is set for a Dec. 21, 2018, launch.
Wonder Woman 2 is the only other movie in the DC Extended Universe that’s been given a release date — Dec. 13, 2019.
Robbie’s Tonya Harding biopic I, Tonya will premiere next month at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Ficarra and Requa are repped by CAA and McKuin Frankel.