Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice arrives in theaters next year, uniting the two eponymous DC superheroes on the big screen (in live-action form) for the first time and setting up future Justice League movies at the same time… and yet right now, at least among the most dedicated comic book film lovers, there appears to be perhaps even more excitement for the second DC release of 2016: Suicide Squad, the first live-action super-villain team-up/crossover tentpole.

Case in point, most everyone’s been buzzing of late about the Suicide Squad version of iconic Batman antagonist The Joker, as is being portrayed by Jared Leto. The actor, following his Oscar-winning turn as a transgender woman in Dallas Buyers Club, has taken to having a long beard and long hair – which, besides having inspired many a hippie and/or Jesus-related joke, had also left many people wondering if Leto’s Joker would likewise be more unkempt in appearance than part iterations.

Suicide Squad, as written and directed by David Ayer (Fury), will revolve around the DC Cinematic Universe’s big authority figure, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), as she assembles a team of hardened criminals to undertake extremely-dangerous missions. The eponymous team will include such characters as Joker’s lover Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), though the actual Clown Prince of Crime is rumored to spend most of the film in a jail cell – hence, a long-haired, unshaven Joker could make sense, in this universe.

However, that won’t be the case after all, as Ayer took to Twitter yesterday to show Leto getting his locks trimmed and face cleaned up, as the next stage in his Joker transformation (following the actor having gained a fair amount of muscle weight in recent months):

It’ll certainly be interesting to see how Leto’s Joker differs from previous iterations of the character, especially in terms of appearance. Leto having bulked up for the role has led to speculation that this Joker might be partly influenced by the relatively muscular, brawler-type version in Frank Miller’s relatively recent “All-Star Batman & Robin” comic books – though, not necessarily with the elaborate tattoos the character has in that rendition. Some fans have already produced artwork that shows what the freshly-groomed Leto might look like as “Classic Joker”, while others have anticipated one more along the lines of Heath Ledger’s “grounded” take from The Dark Knight (see the header image for this article).

Suicide Squad Joker Version Suicide Squad Director David Ayer Teases Jared Letos Joker Transformation

Regardless, Leto as Joker reads as being a promising match of actor and character role, as do the aforementioned Suicide Squad characters and cast members. The film’s acting ensemble includes Will Smith as Deadshot, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flagg, and Cara Delevingne as Enchantress; hopefully, we’ll soon get a proper look at not just Leto’s Joker, but his costars in their makeup and/or costumes too.

Meanwhile, it look as though Ayer is taking a leaf out of other comic book movie directors’ books (including Zack Snyder and X-Men filmmaker Bryan Singer) and will continue to keep fans in the loop on this DC adaptation’s pre-production process. Good news, as far as we’re concerned.

NEXT: Suicide Squad Movie’s Rumored Storyline

Suicide Squad opens in U.S. theaters on August 5th, 2016.

Source: David Ayer

“Jared Leto as the Joker” artwork by PeppeTi @DeviantArt

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