Jared Leto may be the next Joker
This story is either a major scoop, or an example of why you should never trust casting rumors. Odds are we’ll find out which it is soon enough, but according to insiders speaking to The Wrap, Warner Bros. and DC are considering Oscar winner Jared Leto to play the Joker in the upcoming Suicide Squad film.
David Ayers (Fury, End of Watch) will direct and the film is set to release on August 5, 2016, but beyond that there isn’t much to say beyond conjecture. WB is rumored to be interested in several A-list stars for various roles in the film, including Tom Hardy and Will Smith, but it’s still unclear which DC characters will make the roster. One possible villain that has been rumored to be involved with the team is Harley Quinn. If that is true, the Joker may not be far behind.
Jesse Eisenberg is also reportedly set to reprise the role of Lex Luthor in the film, although it’s unclear in what capacity. Eisenberg will appear first as Luthor in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and will probably make several appearances in DC’s new shared universe, which was recently outlined with releases scheduled through 2020.
As for Leto, even if the report is 100-percent accurate, the negotiations have yet to even begin – and those negotiations should be interesting, to say the least.
Coming off an Oscar winning performance in Dallas Buyers Club, the actor has his pick of roles for the most part, and is certainly commanding a higher salary than ever before. With WB’s ambitious plans for the DC universe, you can bet that the studio will want to lock whoever they choose to play the Joker into multiple appearances. With Leto’s acting schedule further complicated by his musical career as the front man for Thirty Seconds to Mars, timing could be an issue.
And this is all assuming the film really is planning to introduce the Joker. That would actually make a lot of sense though.
With Batman tied up fighting Superman and Lex Luthor, and with the Justice League said to be squaring off against either Brainiac or Darkseid, Suicide Squad would allow WB to re-introduce the character of the Joker in a way that will both help the film by bringing the character’s recognition to it, and allow WB to use the character later without having to reintroduce him.
As with Christian Bale’s Batman, Heath Ledger’s Joker is not officially part of the new shared universe. Whoever plays him, whether it be Leto or someone else, will likely want to put their own stamp on the role. An introduction in the Suicide Squad movie would make sense for both the studio and the actor.
As The Wrap also points out, Leto and his reps were interested in at least talking to Marvel about the role of Doctor Strange. That seems to signify that Leto would be willing to take on a comic book role and be part of a larger movie universe with high visibility. If the demands of the role of a Marvel character didn’t scare him away, the role of the Joker probably wouldn’t either.
WB seems to be moving ahead quickly with Suicide Squad following the official announcement.