Could it be that Academy Award winner Jared Leto is actually something of a secret weapon for DC and Warner Bros.? At a time when the media stance on the burgeoning DC Extended Universe is tending toward the harshly critical, the actor is proving to be a consummate movie promoter, delivering a remarkable case for the next franchise instalment – Suicide Squad – which lands in theatres on August 5th, 2016.
Discussing the upcoming release with Total Film (Issue 247, page 72), Leto outlined the appeal of his character, The Joker:
“The only villain who may be more infamous is the devil. The Joker is an icon, a legend, the baddest of the bad and seems to be having the most fun. Hard not to be a fan of that.”
But then, the actor delivered his real gift – which was none of the disturbing items he is now renowned for sending to his fellow cast members. Rather, he shifted the focus onto respected writer-director David Ayer (End Of Watch, Fury), and described how the filmmaker encouraged him to take on the Joker mantle – and all the baggage that comes along with it.
“I knew I was going to have to dive deep and go to a place I had never gone before. We sat outside his house and talked and it was clear he wanted to make something really different. He wanted to break some rules, and that’s very compelling. I got the sense he was on a mission. This wasn’t just a movie for him. He had a lot of passion and ideas. He was also very decisive, which is needed when you’re walking upon trepidatious ground. His ideas and energy were infectious, and I knew I had to be a part of the adventure.”
It has long been suspected – ever since the release of the first images of Leto in character – that Suicide Squad would be something out of the ordinary. Pressure is particularly high – not just because it is a comic book movie, but because it is the first film in the DCEU to be helmed by someone other than Zack Snyder.
Having kickstarted the whole endeavour with 2013’s Man Of Steel, and having faced a vicious backlash following the release of Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice earlier this year, Snyder fills the role of executive producer on Suicide Squad, with all indications suggesting that this new film is fundamentally David Ayer’s creation.
It is a crucial juncture for the DCEU, as Warner Bros. and DC seek to establish a cinematic universe that embraces a broad range of directorial vision, and a vast spectrum of films that are as individual in tone as they are united by their comic book characters. Jared Leto, in his relaxed, measured promotion of Suicide Squad, seems to be keen to emphasize the distinctive nature of the film as a whole – with his transformative turn as everyone’s favourite homicidal supervillain being just one part. Indeed, rather than dominating the marketing of the film, Leto’s Joker would appear to be DC’s ace-in-the-hole.