“The joke’s on you, Batman.”
The crown prince of crime is set to be reborn in next year’s Suicide Squad from director David Ayer. Batman’s archenemy will be played by Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) and get a chance to shine in the villain-centered, anti-hero film. While the film is still more than six months away, WB’s marketing machine is working overtime to get their fanbase worked up with anticipation. The most recent press comes from the latest issue of Empire magazine where the film is taking center stage.
And on the cover, no less than the Joker himself.
— Empire Magazine (@empiremagazine) October 26, 2015
While the film has an ensemble cast of criminal characters, it’s impossible for Leto’s Joker to not stand out. The Oscar winning actor steps into a role that is not only infamous in American pop culture, but was last portrayed on screen by the late Heath Ledger. That performance in The Dark Knight (2008) not only won Ledger a posthumous Oscar, but has come to be accepted as the definitive cinematic version of the villain.
Leto has a tall order to redefine the character as his own creation. Glimpses that we’ve seen so far, including a teaser trailer, show a Joker that is very different from the one we met in Nolan’s film. It appears the actor is trying to take the psychotic and terrifying elements of the character up a notch. It’s all in line with WB’s approach to create a darker universe for its heroes and villains. While Nolan is credited with grounding Batman in a post 9/11 world that rarely stretched the bounds of reality too far, Zack Snyder (Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice), Ayer and Leto all seem to be adding more of the “comic book” element. This is good news for fans who longed for a more comic feel (less obligations to be bound in the real world). However, Leto still has his work cut out for him in portraying the most (or maybe second most behind Batman) scrutinized comic character of all time.
Reports from the set after filming finished were that Leto never came out of character. He was the Joker at all times during the production. He went to great lengths to stay “in character” even playing twisted jokes on his fellow cast members. Actress Maggie Robbie (plays Harley Quinn) is not likely to forget the “gift” of a live rat Leto surprised her with.
Will Smith (Deadshot) shared in a recent interview with Slash Film that Leto was never himself on set. “I’ve never actually met Jared Leto. We worked together for 6 months and we’ve never exchanged a word outside of ‘Action!’ and ‘Cut!’ I literally have not met him yet. So, the first time I see him will be ‘Hey, Jared. What’s up?’ He was all in on the Joker.”
Fans everywhere will get a chance to see if Leto’s commitment paid off when the Suicide Squad hits theaters on August 5, 2016.