One of the most interesting things happening with Warning Bros’ upcoming DC Comics villain-centric Suicide Squad, has been the constant online documentation of actor/musician Jared Leto slowly being transformed into The Joker. After weeks of just little weird teases and half-obscured glimpses all over social media though, writer-director David Ayer has finally tweeted our first proper look at Leto as the Clown Prince of Crime, and its… It’s… Well, just look for yourself!
Damn. Well, that’s not going to do anything for anybody’s fear of clowns.
So let’s start the obligatory over-analyzation: Besides for the Bond villain teeth and LA gang face tattoos (Orale, homes!), it’s clear – at least when it comes to his face and pose – that Leto and Ayer are drawing inspiration from the crazy, bloodshot eye look used in Alan Moore’s famous story “The Killing Joke” (see the header pic above). In one of Leto’s early teases, he even posted a pic of himself in a famous pose that was pulled straight out of that comic.
But in what might just be either the coolest touch – or the most overcompensatingly edgy one, depending on how you look at it – they then threw all the “Ha Ha’s” and even The Killing Joke’s gigantic grin on Leto as tattoos. Some people are obviously going to hate it, saying that this is merely some way to modernize and grittify (made-up word alert!) the character, but this looks exactly like the type of unhinged thing Joker would do. At least the Joker that doesn’t rely that heavily on the “Clown” part of his title.
In the last few years we’ve seen the character in the comics being moved away from the image of the clowning around trickster popularized by early comics, Jack Nicholson’s portrayal in Batman and the much loved Batman: The Animated Series, and more to a sadistic, highly erratic creature of pure nightmares. Hell, he even cut off his own face and wore it as a mask for a while. This Joker definitely feels like it could be coming from that Joker.
But will it work on-screen though? I mean we all know that characters always look different when we see them in action – and in clothes, I would presume. Plus, we have no clue as to how Ayer has actually written the character. Is he still a laugh-riot goofball or an utterly deranged and “damaged” – OK, that face tattoo, definitely feels like overcompensation – psychotic mastermind who will gut you in the most elaborately planned way, just as quick as he will look at you?
Obviously the giant green-haired elephant in the room is the late Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the character in The Dark Knight. His performance and version of the Joker was so amazing that it is widely considered to be the definitive portrayal of the character on-screen, and so of course comparisons are going to happen. And at first glance, Leto’s does seem like a lesser version of the Joker.
However, I need to remind everybody that when Ledger was first cast and shown off as the Joker, a lot of the “complaints” I just listed above were directed at him too. And look how that turned out! So do I think Leto and Ayer have it in them to pull off the same iconic level representation of what is arguably the greatest villain in all of comics though? Well, after learning my lesson from being an early Ledger hater, I ain’t saying a damn thing until I actually see this on-screen.
Suicide Squad also stars Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Will Smith as Deadshot, Jai Courtney as Boomerang, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flagg, Cara Deviligne as Enchantress, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller and Jim Parrack as Deathstroke. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jay Hernandez, Karen Fukuhara, Adam Beach, Scott Eastwood, and Ike Barinholtz also star in undisclosed roles. It’s been rumoured that Ben Affleck’s Batman will also appear in the movie. Suicide Squad is currently busy filming and is scheduled for release on August 5, 2016.
Last Updated: April 25, 2015