Joaquin Phoenix has refused to confirm reports he is preparing to portray Batman villain The Joker in an upcoming origin film.

The actor has emerged as the favourite to lead director Todd Phillips' DC Comics project for Warner Bros., with rumours suggesting he has entered talks to take on the iconic role.

Confirming that he's "met" The Hangover filmmaker Todd, and is quite fond of him, Joaquin played coy on his involvement with the movie.

"I don’t know really. I don’t know," he told Collider in response to a question about his involvement.

The late Heath Ledger earned a posthumous Academy Award for his turn as the character in Christopher Nolan's 2008 Batman movie The Dark Knight and Jared Leto also took a crack at the villain in Suicide Squad, and without confirming that a signed contract is in place, Joaquin alluded to the fact he'd be going in a completely different direction than his predecessors should he ever play The Joker on the big screen.

"There are different interpretations," he said. "It’s so interesting; I was just thinking about it today, it seems so unique in some ways to comic books. I think there’s probably room for that. Maybe it’s like doing a play, like you always hear about people doing something: 'You should have seen this actor in this performance'. But then other actors do it and it’s a different kind of film.

"I think that genre, comic books, kind of lends itself to having different people play the same character and interpret it in a different way. It’s kind of built into the source material in some ways. I think it’s cool when people do that."

Director Phillips' Joker movie is still in pre-production, but the working screenplay reportedly follows the villain when he was a comic in the 1980s, just before he morphed into an evil clown criminal.