If you spot any typos in this post, then please forgive me but I have to type this up really fast. See the blood in my hands are rapidly being drained away to my… ahem… other organs* due to the latest bit of news regarding Warner Bros’ DC Comics movie slate. A short while back we brought you the news that WB were apparently courting Will Smith, Tom Hardy, Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie to star in their supercrook ensemble Suicide Squad. Most people – including us – scoffed at the idea that such A-listers would get on board this production, but it appears that we rapidly need to discover which wine pairs best with medium rare crow.
Collider is reporting that Robbie – fresh from lighting up the screen and reddening the face of many a hot blooded male in Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street – has in fact been cast to play fan-favourite Harley Quinn in the David Ayer (End of Watch, Training Day, Fury) directed film.
Harley Quinn actually didn’t start life in the comics but rather the critically acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series from the 90’s, where she was introduced as Harleen Quinzel, a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum assigned to try and figure out what makes the Joker tick. In typical Clown Prince fashion, he completely twists their relationship until she goes completely mental and becomes obsessed with him, starting her own life of gag-filled crime. The character was such a huge hit that DC Comics eventually introduced her into their comic book universe, where she’s been a firm fan favourite ever since, as well as a key member of the Suicide Squad for the last few years. When the original stories surfaced about her involvement, I tapped Robbie for the role of Harley Quinn as I thought wasn’t only a dead ringer but that she could bring just the right amount of cool and crazy to make the character work, an assessment I’m still sticking by.
Now you might wonder how WB can introduce Harley Quinn into their shared movie universe when they don’t even have a Joker yet as her origin is so closely tied to him? Well that’s where this latest rumour from The Wrap comes in. They’re reporting that WB are apparently pursuing recent Oscar winner Jared Leto to don the psychotic clown makeup in Suicide Squad as well. According to their insiders, this is the role that WB wanted Ryan Gosling for (yes, seriously!), but he was unable to commit due to the multi-picture option the role would require.
After winning an Oscar for his transformative performance in Dallas Buyers Club, Leto has yet to line up his next big gig, but he was apparently one of the people in the mix for Marvel’s Doctor Strange (which might possibly go to Benedict Cumberbatch now) and according to sources, he was quite keen to get into this whole superhero business. But as the saying goes: If at first you don’t succeed, try and take on one of the competition’s most iconic characters instead. Well, something like that.
Obviously Leto is an incredibly talented actor who can totally immerse himself into a role, and thus I actually think he could make a great Joker – better than the mealy-mouthed Gosling, if you ask me. But there is of course the giant elephant with the mysteriously scarred face in the room: No matter what he (or anybody else that gets the role) does, they are always going to be compared to the performance the late Heath Ledger gave as the Joker in The Dark Knight. Ledger set the benchmark with his Oscar-winning turn, which would already be enough to stamp out his place in pop culture history. But coupled with him tragically passing away shortly after finishing film and before he could claim his award, his performance has taken on almost mythic proportions. The pressure on any young actor to live up to that is going to be about as insane as the Joker is himself.
With these castings though, it’s clear that Warner Bros are not afraid of a challenge and are prepared to pull out the big guns to makes this first coherent attempt at their shared universe not just succeed, but replace whatever came before as the definitive version of their characters. Now only one big question remains: Red and black leotard with a jester hat Harley Quinn or modern grungy leather and pigtails Harley Quinn? C’mon folks, these are important factors here!
*I’m talking about my overactive brain of course, you perverts!
Last Updated: November 11, 2014