[WARNING: This article contains minor, Easter Egg-related SPOILERS for Suicide Squad]
If we’re all being honest, it’s hard to imagine anyone being able to connect romantically (or at all) with a villain as twisted and evil as DC Comics’ poster boy for derangement: The Joker. So it’s no surprise that in the long history of the character, only one other person has been able to chip through that manic exterior… sort of. But as beloved as ‘the Joker’s girlfriend’ may be among comic book fans, Harley Quinn’s trip to live-action in Suicide Squad has meant making plenty of changes. Gone is the shrill Brooklyn accent, the comically oversized wooden mallet, and – perhaps most tragically – her classic red and black ‘Jester’ suit.
There have been several opinions raised about the new movie costume worn by Margot Robbie, with some admiring the dedication to the New 52 version of the character’s costume and color scheme, and others wondering why the classic costume would ever not be the obvious choice. Since our time visiting the set of Suicide Squad, reports and comments have been made about the attempts to adapt the Jester suit to live-action. But we’re finally able to give you the inside scoop on the costume, straight from those who made it.
While visiting the set, we were treated to a tour and breakdown of the costume department by costume designer Kate Hawley (Edge of Tomorrow). The topic of Harley’s wardrobe in the film inevitably arose, and the question of just how to go about crafting a costume for a character who creates a ‘classic’ look in virtually every incarnation.
And, no surprise, Hawley knew the one costume that was on everybody’s mind – including her own:
“The Jester suit has such an amazing, powerful quality to it. And we built it, we built that, and we actually put it on Margot and she looked amazing, and there’s a moment [in the film] where there’s an homage made to that very garment. What happens though… We say we could do the paper doll book of Harley in terms of all the facets she could present to you, there’s so many elements and depth to her character. And we built stuff for scenes that aren’t here anymore, and things like that.”
It’s hard to know if the knowledge that the filmmakers really did try to make the Jester suit (or some variation of it) work for the film makes its absence easier to swallow, or harder. But, as Hawley hinted, fans can still keep their eyes peeled for a glimpse of the suit – and it won’t be alone.
Speaking with Hawley, it was obvious that fan service and easter eggs were high priorities. And even though the details may have changed as the filming continued and editing saw even more aspects of the movie removed, fans can look forward to some meta references when Harley actually selects the costume she’ll wear for the movie’s mission:
“So there’s definitely an homage that was going to be a bigger moment, I’m not sure. Let’s wait and hold on because this film’s still filming and I’m sure it will continue for a while, and will keep changing [laughs]. They get given their mission outfits out of Belle Reve en route to this mission they’re on. And there’s a delightful scene, they’re all putting on their “murdering suits” as they call them, because when they put them on, people die. And Harley’s sitting there and you’ll see a moment where she’s pulling out all her corsets, so we quote every comic variation of her. It’s her dress-up box. And I feel sure, you know… I’m sure that Jester suit’s gonna come into it because none of us can leave it alone.”
It wasn’t just Hawley and her assistants who were eager to see the Jester suit live on, as producer Richard Suckle also admitted that despite their best efforts, the one costume fans knew to demand had to be left by the wayside – for now…
“It was almost sad to actually have to say: as much as we want her to be wearing, let’s say, the one piece suit, that it’s not really right for what we’re doing in this movie. But we designed it, and she put it on. Just going through her hair, makeup and wardrobe test was a real treat. We tried so many different things and so many different things that would be iconic that hopefully will live in other films if we’re lucky enough to make other films.”
Would we possibly see those tests on a Blu-ray?
“I don’t know. Let’s put it this way: we haven’t discussed that because that’s further downstream, but I would think that that would be something that … Look, it exists. It’s a great thing that would be able to include.”
We suppose the beggars can’t be choosers, which means fans should probably (and in fairness, most likely will) appreciate the look that they get, and hold out hope for a sequel with Margot Robbie donning the Jester suit. Considering the early buzz, rumors of a Harley spinoff, and director David Ayer implying an entire Suicide Squad universe is possible, they may not have to wait long.
Suicide Squad is scheduled to arrive in theaters on August 5, 2016; Wonder Woman is slated for release on June 2, 2017; followed by Justice League on November 17, 2017; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020. The Flash is currently without a release date.