Jared Leto is an Academy Award-winning actor who had the good fortune of being cast as the Joker, one of the most memorable DC characters ever. I believe it’s “good fortune” because I trust Leto to knock it out of the park. Maybe it’s because I’m one of the few people hung up on Heath Ledger’s version of the character or because I’m old enough to remember that the Joker role didn’t originate with Ledger. It might even be because my favorite, “untouchable” version of Joker is voice-acted by Mark Hamill.
In any case, I’m willing to give Jared the benefit of the doubt; he probably has it in him to put his own memorable twist on the iconic supervillain. That is precisely why the Heath Ledger comparisons need to stop.
Heath Ledger died tragically and young. This combination of misfortune often forces an actor to be forever associated with his last memorable on-screen role. It was the case with James Dean and Rebel Without a Cause. Like Dean, Ledger is strongly associated with a character that rebels against rules and the norm. But whereas James’ character was something of a troublemaker with a heart of gold, there was nothing golden in the heart of Heath’s Joker. He was a psychopath with a twisted personality and slashed face.
The transformation into the Joker was such that many people were taken aback. Perhaps even more so because of the impact the role is said to have had on the troubled Australian actor. While Jared Leto’s version of the character may be crazy, it appears that the role hasn’t been emotionally scarring.
But even so, that doesn’t mean that Leto didn’t give an impactful performance; he’s a very talented actor and singer who’s more than capable of leaving a lasting impression in the Joker role.
— David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) April 25, 2015
As for the look, the tattoos are an interesting look for this version of the Joker. Especially that “Hahahahahahaha” tattoo, which I’m fairly sure is pulled directly from a comic panel. In fact, most of the tattoos on Leto are pulled from Joker lore. For example, the skull with the fool’s cap seems to be a call back to the original concept art for the Joker.
His look is so visually divorced from the Dark Knight version of the Joker that it seems pretty pointless to expect that interpretation again, or an attempt to compete with it. I’d also like to remind people still seeking to compare Jared Leto to Heath Ledger that many people had no faith whatsoever in the actor when he was cast. It was the makeup that got people talking… and his tragic death I feel that boosted the nostalgia factor.
There are many great versions of the Joker across multiple mediums. There’s always room for more, and I have faith that the Jared Leto interpretation will be a great addition!
What did you think of Jared Leto’s official reveal as the Joker? Please share your thoughts below!
[Image Credit: David Ayer/Twtter, Wikimedia Commons]