The Joker is one of the most iconic characters in superhero lore, a villainous presence who has translated marvelously to the big-screen. This millenium alone, both Joaquin Phoenix and Heath Ledger have won Academy Awards for their daring takes as the maniacal clown, impressing audiences with their distinct takes on the character. Sandwiched in between both performances is Jared Leto and his short-lived run as the Joker, with his lone appearance in Suicide Squad allocating the only 8 minutes of screen-time.
In that short time, Leto’s over-the-top performance failed to connect with most fans, coming off as energetic shtick rather than a menacing performance. According to Suicide Squad director David Ayer (who was answering a fan’s question via Twitter), most of Jared Leto’s performance ended up on the cutting room floor, which left Ayers heart-broken for his star actor. Check out his full reply:
For sure character creation is a tightrope. I took inspiration from the current DC comics. I find it incredible it’s still such a topic 5 years later. My heart breaks for Jared – he did magnificent work. Most of it remains unseen. https://t.co/IRj7vB1ZjG
— David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) May 5, 2020
“For sure character creation is a tightrope. I took inspiration from the current DC comics. I find it incredible it’s still such a topic 5 years later. My heart breaks for Jared – he did magnificent work. Most of it remains unseen.”
Suicide Squad’s post-production was a bizarre mess, with Warner Brothers eventually calling upon a trailer editing house to create the final cut. Many of the scenes that feature Leto’s Joker felt like segmented versions of longer scenes, with the film’s frantic final cut never allowing the actor to get much accomplished with the role. I can understand Leto’s frustration about not getting more opportunities as Joker, especially due to Suicide Squad’s box office success.
At the same time, it’s clear that Leto’s departure from the role is a byproduct of DC semi-rebooting their established universe, with the character likely to be rebooted in Matt Reeve’s Batman universe.
Would you want to see a Suicide Squad director’s cut? Let us know in the comments!