One of the most oddly tragic “What If?” stories in Hollywood history is the sordid saga of Jared Leto‘s Joker in Suicide Squad. From what we know, Leto committed about 1,000% both off-screen and off—to an obnoxious, co-star-nagging degree—to a character vision that was flawed from the start, all in exchange for roughly 8 minutes of screentime and zero spinoffs or sequels in sight. With Joaquin Phoenix‘s Joker earning acclaim and the Harley Quinn-focused Birds of Prey having no time for Mistah J, it seems we all collectively moved on recently from Leto’s tatted-up Clown Prince of Crime.
But David Ayer won’t let us move on without a fight. The Suicide Squad director shared a photo of an “early Joker makeup test”, and while there’s nothing too different from the finished product, it’s still a fascinating look at an ill-advised concept—the Joker as a tattoo-covered gangster pimp(?)—doomed to fail. One of my saucier pop culture opinions is that I kind of love Jared Leto’s Joker, but that’s mostly because of how fiercely committed everyone was to this hilariously awful idea. Black teeth or gold, no amount of method acting is going to get me to stop picturing the freaking Joker sitting in a chair and getting a teardrop tattoo.
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