Jared Leto can seemingly do no wrong. He’s an Oscar winner, the lead singer of a rock band, incredibly smooth and charismatic based on any interview I’ve ever seen him in and his new movie, Morbius, about a man who turns into a vampire, is apparently an autobiography for Leto because he DOESN’T AGE! Seriously, he’s almost fifty.
But one thing he didn’t get right was his portrayal of the Joker in Suicide Squad. Sure, he has his defenders, but his interpretation of the villain was too cosplay-like. Between the grill, the green hair and the fact that he literally had the word “damaged” tattooed on his forehead, Leto was trying too hard. And to add insult to injury, he’s going to forever be sandwiched in between two award-winning performances of the character in Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix.
Due to the poor reception of both Leto and Suicide Squad, a planned Harley Quinn and Joker movie was nixed by Warner Bros. Instead, the studio and Miss Quinn herself, Margot Robbie, decided to make a spinoff in the form of Birds of Prey that would be “all or nothing” in regards to her relationship with Joker, with the actress explaining:
“It was either going to be a complete Harley and Joker story or Joker has got to be out of the picture. I really wanted to see Harley in a girl gang and I felt there was a huge gap in the market for a girl gang ensemble action film. I felt like no one was doing that and I couldn’t understand why, especially a comic book movie.”
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Based on the trailers, it looks like Birds of Prey will be a pretty fun movie about getting over a breakup. Sort of like Harley’s breakup album. Eat your heart out Adele and Taylor Swift. And Leto will not appear in the film or in the upcoming Suicide Squad sequel.
In fact, Robbie, who also acts as a producer on Birds of Prey, felt it was important to have the breakup be a motivating factor for Harley to jumpstart the movie, saying:
“From the very beginning it was a conscious choice of they have to be broken up at this stage,” Robbie said. “I have a whole backstory in my head [of] what’s happened between what you saw at the end of Suicide Squad and what you see at the beginning of Birds of Prey.” Ultimately, Robbie added, that’s “a rocky road.”
And while Joker will certainly be on the mind of Harley, the gang’s threat in the pic will be Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor), a criminal also known as Black Mask who each member of Harley’s team has a problem with.
“Each of them has such a personal reason why they don’t like him and why he doesn’t like them,” screenwriter Christina Hodson said. “That natural kind of antagonism with each of them feels personal and grounded rather than feeling like, ‘I’m going to blow up the world,’ big Machiavellian-like mustache-twirling. And that felt so right in this world.”
Birds of Prey looks like another step in the DCEU’s attempt to lighten the tone of its universe and have some fun. A welcomed sight from the self-serious material that we were getting under Zack Snyder’s watch, then. And we’ll see how it goes over with audiences when it touches down in theaters next month.