Even before the billion dollar box office and awards season that greeted Todd Phillips’ R-rated origin story, the writing was already on the wall for Jared Leto’s version of the Joker. Fans were never completely onboard with his take on the Clown Prince of Crime and voiced their concerns ever since the first image was revealed of the actor in character for Suicide Squad. Of course, there were also countless behind-the-scenes reports of an already troubled production about the Academy Award winner’s bizarre behavior on set. Suicide Squad was a box office hit, but it didn’t find much favor with critics, and Leto’s performance in particular was singled out for criticism.
The 48 year-old has since revealed his disenchantment at having so many of his scenes left on the cutting room floor, and instead moved on to play another pale comic book villain in Sony’s upcoming Morbius, but not without word leaking out that he’d actively tried to stop Warner Bros. from making the Joaquin Phoenix-starring Joker, with the very idea of the movie apparently leaving him infuriated.
There was speculation that Leto’s Joker was set to make a cameo in Birds of Prey, given how closely linked Harley Quinn and Mr. J. have always been in the comics, although that was quickly ruled out. However, the green-haired villain does make a brief appearance in the DCEU’s latest outing, although he’s only glimpsed as part of a flashback. People have been wondering though who stepped in to become the third big-screen Joker since 2017, and now Californian musician Johnny Goth has revealed that he was the man in the costume.
“I knew a few people working on the film, and they had heard they needed someone to be the Joker, and thought it would be sick if I did it. They needed someone with similar hands to Leto’s Joker, and someone who would fit the costumes, so I just came in and turned out to be the same sizes, and they gave me the part. We filmed about a month later. There were big shoes to fill taking on this role as someone with no experience, but we had a good time and I hope to make my way back to the big screen soon.”
Birds of Prey has still failed to even crack $200 million at the global box office despite being released four weeks ago, so at least the production was savvy enough to simply re-use some of Leto’s Suicide Squad costumes in order to save on the budget. Following Joaquin Phoenix’s Academy Award win for Best Actor though, it would probably be for the best if the Joker stayed off our screens for the time being. Although, who know what Matt Reeves has got planned for his Batman trilogy.