For all the bluster and hype, the much touted appearance of Jared Leto’s (Dallas Buyer’s Club) Joker in Suicide Squad left much to be desired. As the first actor to tackle the live action portrayal of the character since the late Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight, Leto had some pretty big shoes to fill; while the internet tore itself apart regarding the controversial look of The Clown Prince of Crime in David Ayer’s (Fury) film, fans and critics were left puzzled over what amounts to a glorified cameo in the film.
There’s some hope that this is rectified by the upcoming extended cut of Suicide Squad. Due in November on Digital HD, speculation is rampant that Joker will play a larger role in what Ayer is touting as the definitive version of the film. It stands to reason, given Leto’s vocal disappointment over the amount of screen time given to Joker, which he claims was cut considerably. We won’t know for sure how much, if any, of his performance is restored until its release next month, but some of what might have been can be seen in the form of on set photography.
Clay Enos, still photographer for Suicide Squad, gave fans another glimpse at Leto as Joker via his Instagram page. The image comes from a between takes shot, showcasing the actor engaging in a bit of clowning around in the back of his chinook helicopter featured in the film. Despite being a shot not intended to appear in any form of the film, there’s a lot to be gleaned from Leto’s playful demeanor.
The actor infamously used a method acting approach for his take on Joker, raising eyebrows and making headlines for his bizarre antics both on set and off, including sending a series of disgusting gifts to his co-stars. Will Smith (Collateral Beauty) even stated that he technically has yet to meet Leto:
“I’ve never actually met Jared Leto. We worked together for six months and we’ve never exchanged a word outside of ‘Action!’ and ‘Cut!’ We’ve never said ‘Hello,’ we’ve never said ‘Good day.’ I’ve only ever spoken to him as Deadshot and him as the Joker…Not a single word exchanged off camera. He was all in on the Joker…I’m looking forward to meeting him.”
While fans may not have gotten to see much of Leto’s extreme efforts at getting into character, the image of Joker climbing the walls of his helicopter fits the psychotic image the actor attempted to portray. Part of what makes Joker so frightening as a character is his playful, cavalier attitude. Nothing is serious in his mind, not even - perhaps especially - death. To Joker, there’s no excuse not to have fun and laugh.
Which is what makes Enos’ image all the more intriguing. Leto didn’t get into character so much as inhabit him, and it’s not difficult to imagine Joker climbing around the inside of his helicopter during slow moments, if only to amuse himself and put whoever might be watching at unease. It’s playful, sure, but it’s a playful that belies the dangerous tendencies of the green haired madman.
It speaks loudly towards the amount of thought and effort Leto put into the role, hinting at just what else we might be in store for should more of his role be featured in the upcoming extended cut. Perhaps, as with Batman v Superman, the director’s cut will solve many of the problems both fans and critics had with the film, and the true depth of Leto’s performance will finally be seen by audiences.
Suicide Squad will be available on Digital HD on November 15th and on Blu-ray and DVD on December 13th, 2016.
Wonder Woman opens in theaters 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, The Batman, Dark Universe and Man of Steel 2 are currently without a release dates.