Jared Leto tried to get Joker cancelled. The film, directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix, has been equally successful and controversial. There have been debates about the movie’s overall message, and whether or not it depicts the character of Arthur Fleck too sympathetically, but it seems that Leto wanted to put a stop to Phillips’ nihilistic origin story for a more personal reason.
Leto made only one appearance as The Clown Prince of Crime, showing up briefly in Suicide Squad. But his portrayal of the comic book supervillain remains popular. This is in large due to Leto’s infamous commitment to the performance. He was fond of sending his cast mates gifts, such as a dead rat to Margot Robbie. Whether those antics were out of line or merely a publicity stunt to drum up interest and distinguish Leto’s take on a familiar persona, it worked. Leto remained a hot topic of conversation, despite his limited screen time, and he had even expressed interest in exploring Joker further. According to a new report, the actor did not respond well when he learned of Phillips’ project.
As revealed by THR, Leto’s efforts were not only limited to complaining to his agents. He also asked his music manager, Irving Azoff, to reach out to the leader of Warners' parent company. The goal was, ultimately, for Warners to put an end to Phillips’ film. A source connected to Leto denies that such a request was ever made, and Azoff declined to comment on the matter. Azoff and Leto have parted ways.
Part of the issue is that Leto felt that he was being strung along by the promises of starring in his own standalone Joker film. That sense of being falsely led was compounded when he learned that Warners was moving forward with a separate, different Joker movie. The studio, per a source close to the situation, wasn’t too pleased with Leto’s headline-grabbing pranks and director David Ayer wasn’t psyched either. Despite factoring into the promotion of Suicide Squad as one of the leads, Leto was only onscreen for ten minutes or so.
Leto felt strongly that his agents should have informed him of the Todd Phillips project earlier, arguing that they should have fought harder for his version of The Joker. The reporting on Leto’s frustrations concludes by suggesting that the actor’s run as Mr. J is over. Leto won’t be in the sequel of Suicide Squad. It has also confirmed that he will not appear in Birds of Prey.
It’s worth noting that, despite being regarded as a huge hit now, Todd Philips’ version of Joker wasn’t always such a guarantee. Those in charge might have dismissed Leto’s concerns about the project because they didn’t believe the finished product would make it all the way to the big screen. Perhaps in a few years, another performer can have a chance to redefine Batman’s archnemesis.
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- The Batman (2021) release date: Jun 25, 2021
- The Suicide Squad (2021) release date: Aug 06, 2021
- DC Super Pets (2022) release date: May 20, 2022
- Aquaman 2 (2022) release date: Dec 16, 2022