‘Suicide Squad’ Director David Ayer Explains The Joker’s Tattoos In New Interview

Warner Bros. Suicide Squad is going to hit theaters in just a couple of months, and anticipation for the film is really beginning to build. The film’s director, David Ayer, reveals some new information on the film in a new interview, including an explanation on the tattoos Jared Leto’s Joker is covered in.

Minor spoilers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, possible spoilers for Suicide Squad up ahead.

Ayer first explained how he wanted to root the character in some reality and give him a solid foundation, stating that he took some inspiration from pictures on Instagram.

“A lot of it has to do with creating a character with some kind of history and footprint in our world. And not have this sacrosanct being outside of our continuum, our reality. If a guy like him really existed today, where would he come from? How would he do business? Who would he know? What would he look like? In my mind, I took a lot of inspiration from drug lords on Instagram. It’s a great way to understand the lifestyle of a villain.”

'Suicide Squad' Director David Ayer Explains The Joker's Tattoos In New Interview
[Image via GB Posters]
When the first images of Jared Leto as the Joker first appeared online, there were a slew of comic book fans who were displeased and confused by the Clown Prince of Crime’s appearance. Leto’s Joker is truly original, with his mouth filled with metal teeth after being repeatedly pummeled by Batman, along with the array of tattoos and ink on his body — with the word “damaged” written across his forehead. But Ayer insists that it’s all part of the storytelling.

“The tattoos tell a very specific story,” Ayer continued. “And eventually people will decipher them and understand what’s going on, but obviously they’re contentious, any time you do something new it’s contentious. There’s very specific stories and Easter eggs in those tattoos.”

The last statement is telling, considering that there were rumors all over the internet about some of the tattoos on Joker’s body. One of those tattoo theories was centered on what looked like a robin on his right bicep. Some believed it was a direct reference to Batman’s partner Robin, in this instance, being Jason Todd. It was recently revealed that the Joker did indeed kill Jason Todd/Robin long before the events that led up to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

So we can surmise that Leto’s Joker killed Jason and decided to give himself a tattoo to remember it.

“And even his teeth, there’s an entire story behind that which is absolutely canon,” David Ayer continued. “It’s putting his history on his body. This Joker is a little more working class, who I believe could live in our world.”

The look of the Joker was more of a collaborative process between the director and actor, with the tattoos specifically being Ayer’s idea. Jared himself described the process as a bit of a “mashup of both of our sick and twisted minds.” On that end, it seems they have succeeded in their goals — with the way that the Joker looks in the promotional images and trailers, he is nothing if not sick and twisted.

Ayer went on to discuss Jared Leto’s process on set and what it was like to see him playing this iconic character everyday. To no one’s surprise, he refers to Leto’s performance as “f***ing terrifying,” and implied that it was a pretty exhausting transformation for him to make everyday, but it was still a fun and rewarding process for Leto. He was certainly able to stay in character and pull some bizarre, Joker-like pranks on his Suicide Squad castmates, like dropping a pig on the table in the middle of the rehearsal room.

Suicide Squad opens August 5, 2016.

[Image via Warner Bros.]

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