We’ve heard before that Jared Leto felt alienated and upset by director Todd Phillip’s Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix. Now comes word that the Suicide Squad actor actually tried to have the movie canceled, telling his reps and those in charge at Warner Bros., ‘You’ve got to stop this.’ As the movie enters its third weekend in theaters to breaking box office records, it’s clear that his pleas went unanswered.
Jared Leto famously played Joker in the 2016 DC Comics adventure Suicide Squad. There was quite a lot of noise before the movie was released, with exaggerated stories of Leto’s onset behavior. He apparently went method, sending his co-stars disgusting ‘gifts’, and acting like the Clown Prince of Crime wherever he went in public. The actor would later say most of that wasn’t true. But he did expect a much larger role in the David Ayer directed outing, and was very upset to see his performance whittled down to nothing more than a glorified cameo.
It was reported last week that Jared Leto felt ‘alienated and upset’ when Warner Bros. announced a standalone movie for Joker that wasn’t attached to anything previously seen in the DCEU. Which meant the studio would be going with another actor for the role. But it now appears that Leto was more than just a little upset. He was so frustrated by the project, he went out of his way to have the movie killed.
Several sources familiar with Jared Leto’s behavior have come forward to speak about the Oscar-winner’s attitude in regards to Joker. He reportedly complained to his CAA agents who also represent director Todd Phillips. He also asked his music manager Irving Azoff to call the leader of Warners parent company, but it’s unclear if this meant Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes or AT&T’s Randall Stephenson. Jared Leto was desperate to have Joker canceled.
At this time, sources inside Jared Leto’s camp claim the actor never made any such request. Azoff is declining any comment, and it’s alleged that he never put in the infamous call. Since the time Joker was announced, Jared Leto and Irving Azoff are no longer working together.
Previous reports indicate that Leto believed he was being strung along with promises of his own Joker standalone movie. But Todd Phillips’ new version got the greenlight instead. It’s believed that Warner Bros. moved forward with Phillips’ version, giving him a very small budget, believing that he would eventually become disinterested and move on. That clearly didn’t happen.
As the story goes, Warner Bros. wasn’t exactly pleased with all the effort Jared Leto put into creating his Hot Topic version of the Joker, or his clown like antics behind the scenes. Apparently director David Ayer wasn’t much of a fan, either, giving Leto only about 10 minutes of runtime in his final version of Suicide Squad. This came after Leto had been billed for months as a lead character. A source close to the situation says this.
“In his defense, it was never really his movie but his attempt to `invent’ a place for himself in it backfired.”
Jared Leto’s reps say that the actor is still happily working with Warner Bros. at this time, and is even shooting a movie for them. He will appear in the Warner Bros. release Little Things from director John Lee Hancock and co-starring Rami Malek and Denzel Washington. Joker is however credited with ending Leto’s relationship with CAA. He allegedly complained to his agents that they should have alerted him to this new Joker movie sooner, and fought harder for his version of the character. He argued that as an Oscar winner, he wasn’t being treated properly. Other sources say that Leto had strained his relationship by this time, and had already run through four different agent teams at the company. The actor eventually left CAA for WME this past summer. Leto’s current reps claim that Joker had nothing to do with the split.
As of now, it is looking like Jared Leto’s days as Joker are finished. He will not reprise the role for James Gunn’s upcoming quasi-sequel, sorta-reboot The Suicide Squad despite other cast members coming back. Joker does have a cameo in the Harley Quinn led Birds of Prey, which brings back Margot Robbie. But the cameo will conceal Joker‘s face, much like we saw with the Superman cameo in Shazam, and a different actor was brought in to play the role. This report comes from The Hollywood Reporter.