Why Jared Leto Should Portray The Joker in a Stand-Alone Movie
On June 5th, Variety reported that sources had revealed that Jared Leto was setting up a Joker stand-alone movie.
It was unclear where in the DCEU this film would fit in, but it is believed that the film is part of a series of films branching from 2016’s “Suicide Squad” and is being produced by Leto himself. This Joker film, however, is not to be confused with the Martin Scorsese-led Joker origin movie.
The question is. could a Joker driven film even work? Probably not: however, a story told by a narrator, an observer, focusing on the Joker could. So who would that narrator be?
Harley Quinn would be the obvious choice. Margot Robbie’s Harley was the standout character in “Suicide Squad”, but she’s already in talks to be featured in up to three films including “Suicide Squad 2”, “Birds of Prey”, and “Gotham City Sirens”. There have been suggestions for a film featuring Harley Quinn and the Joker; however, this does not seem to be the movie that Leto is interested in making.
An adaptation of a graphic novel-like Joker, written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by Lee Bermejo, which tells the story of the Joker as a crime boss taking over Gotham’s underworld after being released from Arkham Asylum, would be perfect for adaptation featuring Leto’s Joker.
The book focuses on a small-time thug named Johnny Frost, a two-bit player with dreams of making it big in the crime scene. He volunteers to pick up the Joker following his release from Arkham and quickly gets drawn into the Joker’s world and crimes.
Not as fair as it appears
I thought that Jared Leto’s Joker got somewhat of a short shrift. Joker wasn’t in “Suicide Squad” long enough to get a real taste of who the character is. A lot of people were let down when the trailers for the movie seemed to feature The Joker as the lead baddie, and yet he wound up being a bit player in the overall film. The majority of the complaints come from media reports of Leto’s antics during filming and the appearance of the character, particularly that character’s self-referential tattoos and ‘grill’.
Overall there’s a lot of room for the character to develop.
Nowadays Heath Ledger’s Joker is spoken of in a reverential tone but I remember the amount of fanboy butt-hurt, myself included when pictures of the character were initially revealed. The scars, the ‘war paint’ the long badly dyed hair: no one knew at the time that his Joker would quickly be embraced as one of the fans preferred portrayals.
I don’t think that Leto has had a chance yet to really show us what his Joker could be. There’s potential there and that potential probably just needs the right vehicle and the right writing team to really bring out its shine.
The Joker in a stand-alone movie
Overall I’m willing to give Jared Leto a chance to prove us wrong. There’s always the possibility that we may just miss out on a definitive performance that will give a new dimension to a character who has been constantly evolving in the seventy-eight years since his first appearance. I say yes to seeing Jared Leto as The Joker in a stand-alone movie