As Todd Phillips‘ JOKER continues to make headlines while simultaneously ruling the box office, one has to wonder if SUICIDE SQUAD actor Jared Leto is feeling the burn of the Clown Prince of Crime’s latest success. Leto of course played the Jester of Genocide in David Ayer‘s ill-received villain-centric vehicle, SUICIDE SQUAD, in 2016, though his portrayal of the character has often been hailed as the worst yet. Adding insult to injury, Leto was reportedly viewed as something of a “loose cannon” on the SUICIDE SQUAD set, having sent his co-stars “dirty condoms and anal beads” as part of his “method” approach to the character. Alas, the only thing that remains memorable about Leto’s Joker performance is how much it was a departure from the character both in appearance and attitude. Whether it was the character’s on-the-nose tattoos, pimp-like demeanor, or “breathy” line delivery, fans of the character failed to see what was so funny about Leto’s version of the Ace of Knaves.
Despite the wonky reception to SUICIDE SQUAD, Warner Bros. had publicly floated plans to develop a Joker standalone movie featuring Leto as the yin to Batman’s yang. However, as the pieces to Phillips’ plan started falling into place, it became clear that Leto was no longer a part of the big picture.
Recently in an article posted by The Hollywood Reporter, it was said that Leto felt “alienated and upset” by the move to cast Joaquin Phoenix in Phillips’ gritty, violent take on the classic Batman villain.
It stands to reason that Leto’s version of the character would not have been a good match for Phillips’ film, which plays more like an ultra-violent deconstruction of the Joker rather than a comic book-inspired romp. Having seen Phillips’ film for myself this past weekend, I simply can’t imagine Leto’s Joker fitting into Phillips’ vision in any way, shape or form. Regardless of how you feel about Phillips’ JOKER overall, it’s obvious that Phoenix poured everything he had into making the part his own, and iconic to boot. While Phoenix is notoriously difficult to work with at times, his actions on the set of JOKER never involved him sending co-star Zazie Beetz a live rat, or dumping a dead pig on a table, only to saunter out like it was no thang.
With James Gunn’s THE SUICIDE SQUAD being framed as something of a reboot for the franchise, there looks to be little room for Leto’s Joker to make a return. I think it’s for the best, though I am sure that there are plenty of Leto fans who would disagree.
If you dug Leto’s Joker performance, let us know why in the comments section down below.