The internet almost imploded this week when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was released to mixed reviews, fan debate, critical opinion, obliterated box-office records, and, well, a sense of nervous excitement. Everyone has voiced an opinion on the movie itself, but one thing is perfectly clear: the film now has people talking about the DC Cinematic Universe’s next instalment, Suicide Squad. With Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, and the two Justice League movies some way off, the viewers are looking to David Ayer’s anti-hero mash-up to ease the constant craving of their DC superhero itch.
The Suicide Squad movie is an anti-hero team effort, that is clear, but one character that will be reprising his on-screen dominance in the villainous ensemble is The Joker. Yes, we will see big-screen débuts of other popular Batman foes like Killer Croc, Deadshot, and, excitedly so, Harley Quinn, but The Joker is still the big bad that fans crave to see, and this fact hasn’t been eased by the multiple references included in Batman v Superman.
With such an iconic character and a historic legacy on the big-screen, the attention was inevitable, and this isn’t lost on Jared Leto, the latest actor to portray Batman’s arch-nemesis. This week, he not only addressed the huge responsibility with playing such an iconic role but also revealed how he tried to reinvent the character.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jared Leto spoke about The Joker.
“The work that’s been done on this character by so many people before me has been so impactful, so incredible, so much fun, so profound, so risky, that it’s a very special thing to be asked to take on that responsibility. It’s a weighty thing to do. But it’s exciting. The Joker is one of those roles. He was written brilliantly when he was first shared with the world 75 years ago, or something crazy like that. And I think I’m just really grateful I had the opportunity.
“You just knew you had to do something different, You had to make it your own. That happens all the time. Whether you’re a composer working on a piece of music that was written a century ago, or you’re an actor on stage, reinterpreting a play, it’s very common these days. Directors take on great works of cinema, actors reinterpret roles, that’s been going on for a great deal of time. From Scarface to Hamlet. In some ways it’s really interesting to reinterpret, redefine.”
The Oscar-winning actor has a point. When his casting was announced, there were a few raised eyebrows, and when the first image of him in character surfaced online, the fans were instantly split. If you consider The Joker has only been played twice on the big screen — Jack Nicholson in 1989 and Heath Ledger in 2008 — and both portrayals are culturally iconic, not to mention etched into Batman legacy for various reasons, Leto obviously knew the responsibility for playing such a character wasn’t to be taken lightly. From the clips and trailers available, it seems his incarnation is a younger version of the character, but with an infamous mysterious origin story attached to the characters history, take that with a pinch of salt.
That aside, Total Film recently reported that reshoots are currently underway on Suicide Squad to inject some humour into proceedings. Whether this was a response to the grim portrayal of the DC Universe in Batman v Superman, who knows, but you have to wonder if this move is a wise one. For a film that centers around a group of expendable mutants and deranged killers, there’s only a certain amount of humour you can extract from the plot. With a tight turnaround expected and an August 5 release date, don’t expect the film to change too much from its current version.
Despite the press and the rumours, Suicide Squad is looking to be one of the most interesting movies of 2016. With The Joker’s return a sure highlight, the debut of several key DC characters, and a cameo by Batman himself, you can expect this film to thrill and entertain in droves.
Directed by David Ayer and starring Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Jai Courtney, and Joel Kinnaman, Suicide Squad will open in the UK and U.S on August 5, 2016.
[Image via Warner Bros]