Not only did we as fans get a new Batman this year when Ben Affleck stepped into the cowl for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (now playing in theaters!) but we also have a new Joker to look forward! Jared Leto is the next actor to inhabit the most famous comic book villain of all time in Suicide Squad, the supervillain team-up coming out August 6.
He is following in the enormous footsteps of Heath Ledger’s turn in The Dark Knight eight years ago, which netted the late actor a posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar, a first for a role in a comic book movie. Before that, Hollywood legends Jack Nicholson and Mark Hamill had made their own interpretations famous in live-action and animation, respectively.
Even Leto admitted to Entertainment Weekly the enormity of the task still hasn’t really dawned on him.
“I haven’t formulated a lot of my thoughts on this. 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.”
Leto has been quoted as treating the role as “Shakespearean” and he elaborated that the Joker is a role that is passed down among generations of actors, like many of the characters in Shakespeare’s plays.
“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.
“It 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.”
One interesting tidbit from EW’s article is that it implies that Leto’s Joker is the “ring leader of sorts” for the Suicide Squad. Could be a tease that he is manipulating Amanda Waller from behind the scenes to form the squad? Maybe to get Harley out of jail but more probably to achieve his evil ends? Speculate away in the comments!