Remember when Jared Leto played the Joker? Well, it happened, only three years ago, in 2016’s Suicide Squad, and it might be the only time someone’s played the iconic Batman villain and not earned universal acclaim (or an Academy Award). To add insult to injury, not long after the film’s release DC announced Joker, a stand-alone spin-off starring Joaquin Phoenix unrelated to the ongoing DCEU. Recently it was reported Leto was unsurprisingly displeased with this development. But now The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that the Oscar-winner actually tried to get the movie stopped.
As per THR:
According to sources familiar with Leto’s behavior, when the Oscar-winning actor learned of the [Todd] Phillips project, he not only complained bitterly to his agents at CAA, who also represent Phillips, but asked his music manager, Irving Azoff, to call the leader of Warners parent company (it’s unclear whether it was Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes or AT&T’s Randall Stephenson, depending on the timing). The idea was to get Warners to kill the Phillips film.
Leto’s team is denying this, all while Joker — a legitimately dark and upsetting film, for a comic book movie or not — is burning down the box office, its worldwide haul already exceeding the $600 million mark. Suicide Squad did well, too, despite poor reviews that criticized, among other things, Leto’s antics, both on-screen as well as off-, and when it came time to announce a sequel, DC swapped directors as well as some of the cast.
The Oscar-winning actor took a big chance, following in the footsteps of the late Heath Ledger, who won a posthumous Oscar himself for the role in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Where Ledger’s Joker was a lip-smacking, unpredictable agent of chaos, Leto’s bling-bedecked take was more hammy, the actor chewing scenery rather than burning it down. Meanwhile, Leto is not returning for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad.