Jared Leto Will Kill It As The Joker In ‘Suicide Squad’ & Here’s Why

blame it on JES7 July 20, 2015

WARNING: This post may contain some spoilers for the uninitiated. Tread carefully.

During this year’s Comic Con – two of the most hyped DC Comics/DC Cinematic Universe[1] films were abuzz: Zac Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and David Ayer’s Suicide Squad.

The real champion of the two films was Suicide Squad. During a panel which featured most of the cast, director David Ayer (writer of Training Day and director of Fury, Harsh Times, End of Watch) teased the enthusiastic crowd with a “first look” of the film in Hall H. Of course, some asshole decided to film and then leak the “trailer” online. Because, anonymous online props. Amirite?

This, of course, prompted Warner Bros. – who is distributing Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman – into action, trying their best to remove the leaked footage from the internets, which had already spread like wildfire. After many unsuccessful attempts, Warner Bros. & David Ayer decided to officially upload the first look on YouTube in all it’s high definition glory and sound – as it was supposed to have been experienced.

While everyone – even those who do not follow comic book culture – are familiar with Batman and Superman, there is a larger percentage of the population who are not familiar with Suicide Squad. The “silver screen’s” formal introduction to the Suicide Squad was the 2014 animated film, Batman: Assault On Arkham. If you want a break down on the modern Suicide Squad and what we can (sort of) expect in the upcoming film – I’d highly recommend watching the aforementioned animated film (see trailer below).

Or if you’d rather not, I’ll break it down in a nutshell. Suicide Squad is a team of super-villains who are serving time – most of them locked up in Belle Reve Penitentiary – and are tasked by government agent Amanda Waller, a powerful, ruthless and unforgiving woman who oversees this group of antiheroes. The nickname Suicide Squad was given as everyone on the Task Force have bombs implanted in their heads – controlled by the barbarous Waller. They are charged with completing black ops missions and assassinations in exchange for reduced prison sentences and/or clemency. Should they fail – the government has total deniability.

Anyway, the trailer, which is more a first look than anything since they’ve only been filming for a little over a month – stars Will Smith (Deadshot), Jared Leto (The Joker), Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Killer Croc), Jai Courtney (Captain Boomerang), Cara Delevingne (Enchantress), Jay Hernandez (El Diablo), Adam Beach (Slipknot), Karen Fukuhara (Katana) and Viola Davis (Amanda Waller) – with rumors of and Common, who is confirmed for the film and will either play Black Manta or the Tattooed Man, with reports pointing more to the latter. And finally, Ben Affleck’s cameo as Batman/Bruce Wayne.

There seems to be a lot of focus on Will Smith’s character, Deadshot – followed closely by Margot Robbie (Wolf of Wall Street) and her portrayal as Harley Quinn. My personal opinion is that they used more footage of Big Willie as he is the most well known actor in the entire ensemble. I also believe he will have the most focus as far as an origin story goes, however I think Margot Robbie will steal the show as Harley Quinn.

And then, of course is Jared Leto’s The Joker (the role was originally intended for Ryan Gosling[2]). Although he appears throughout the trailer briefly – they saved a real first look and a few delivered lines for the end. Although the editing is hasty – it looks like we may get an origin story on how Dr. Harleen Quinzel became Harley Quinn (judging by a shot of what looks to be a pre-Harley Quinn strapped to a gurney – and the last shot of The Joker about to torture someone).

With a new Joker come the comparisons. Heath Ledger’s Joker is probably the best portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime. So far. I won’t dabble in the politics of this too much. I will say this. Remember that when it was first announced that Heath would portray The Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, people cried, complained and screamed “Blasphemy!” Yet in the end, Ledger’s outstanding performance earned him a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

I strongly believe that Jared Leto’s Joker will rival that of Ledger’s – despite only seeing a three minute first look, and here’s why:

The Academy Award winning actor is also a well known method actor (much like Heath Ledger) – and this was proven when Leto snatched up an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Dallas Buyers Club, portraying “Rayon, a fictional trans [gender] woman with HIV.” Plus, who can forget his phenomenal performance as heroin addict Harry Goldfarb in Requiem For A Dream? Leto is known to do extensive research for each character he plays and stays in character for the duration of filming (see video below), at times so extreme it affects his health and those around him, including fellow cast members.

With the extremely dark tone of Suicide Squad (and most likely in the wake of Ledger’s overdose, while staying in character as The Dark Knight‘s The Joker), director David Ayer hired a life coach/therapist who will be on set for the duration of filming.

Adam Beach, who portrays Slipknot, explained to E! Online:

We kind of have like a therapist on board if you fall off the wagon and really are villainous. There’s a friend of [Ayer’s] that’s very unique in making sure we have our ground. Us actors explore very fine thin lines going to the dark side and he wants to make sure we finish a movie and don’t disappear somewhere and then don’t show up for work.

There are rumors that Leto’s Joker will end up murdering Robin in Batman v Superman. This little tidbit makes the connection between the BvS and Suicide Squad universes all the more plausible.


Back to the method acting talk. Leto is so committed to his sinister twist on the Jester of Genocide that according to Adam Beach, he reportedly sent Margot Robbie a love letter and, get this, a live rat in a box (which she eventually kept as a pet).

Will Smith also received a letter, along with a box of bullets (because, Deadshot), while the rest of the cast received a video of Leto in character, including a dead hog.

As Leto so eloquently put it:

The opportunity to take on this nearly Shakespearean character — that’s what graphic novels and comic books are becoming, right? [He’s] this beautiful disaster of a character — what a big challenge.

[1] DC’s Cinematic (Shared) Universe kicked off with 2013’s Man of Steel and will continue with BvS, then Suicide Squad, followed by Wonder Woman (2017), Justice League: Part One (2017), The Flash (2018), Aquaman (2018), Shazam (2019), Justice League: Part Two (2019), Cyborg (2020) and Green Lantern Corps (2020). Ben Affleck is confirmed to portray Batman/Bruce Wayne in Suicide Squad and the two future Justice League films, according to his IMDb page. I personally hope to see a Deathstroke, Harley Quinn and Joker stand-alone film.

[2] I’m glad Gosling did not get the role. I personally don’t think he would have been able to pull off the character with as much gusto and terror as Jared Leto ever could.

But enough of my personal opinion. What are your guys’ thoughts on Leto’s portrayal as (menacing hipster-esque) Joker? Do you think he can pull it off? Who else are you excited to see in Suicide Squad? And who do you think The Joker is torturing? Dr. Harleen Quinzel or perhaps, even Robin? Sound off below.