Warner Bros. reportedly wanted Joker director Todd Phillips to run DC before James Gunn hiring

Joaquin Phoenix in Joker
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

James Gunn and Peter Safran may be co-heads of DC Studios but, according to a new report, they weren’t the first names in the frame for the top job.

A source close to The New York Post claims "the whole town turned the job down" before it was offered to Gunn and Safran. That even includes Joker director Todd Phillips, who was reportedly "begged" to take the role.

The source added that there could be trepidation over Gunn’s relative inexperience at the top of a corporate hierarchy.

"Gunn has never run anything. I wonder if big filmmakers will work for another director with zero experience guiding movies through a huge grinder of a system. He’s not Kevin Feige," they said.

He may not be Kevin Feige, but Gunn has been busy formulating plans of a similar scope to his Marvel Studios counterpart.

A new Superman movie, written by Gunn, is in the works. Previous Man of Steel actor Henry Cavill, however, won’t be back – and Wonder Woman 3 has met a similar end.

In its place, Gunn aims to focus on a mix of household names and "lesser known" characters, promising we’ll hear more about his slate next year. He has also recently said that DC Studios won’t be recasting everyone.

Phillips, meanwhile, is busy filming Joker sequel Folie à Deux. The first image of Joaquin Phoenix’s return as the killer clown has been released, while Lady Gaga has been lined up for a starring role – potentially as Harley Quinn.

For more on DC’s upcoming plans, check out our guide to new superhero movies.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.