Jared Leto Opens Up About His Fate As Joker

Jared Leto has revealed how he feels about The Joker and the possibility of playing the iconic villain once more in film.

By Nathan Kamal | Published

jared leto

Jared Leto is a well-respected and successful actor. He has won an Academy Award for his work in Dallas Buyers Club, as well as a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actor Guild Award. He has starred in multiple blockbusters and worked his way up from a TV teen heartthrob type on My So-Called Life to starring in films by Ridley Scott and Oliver Stone. He is also, by common cultural consensus, the worst Joker. That is not entirely his fault, as Leto only had a chance to play Batman’s greatest nemesis in one movie, the David Ayers-directed Suicide Squad. That movie was plagued by studio edits, interference, and was ultimately disowned by Ayers, and plans for a Jared Leto solo-Joker movie were scrapped. Then came along Joaquin Phoenix’s Golden Lion-winning, billion-dollar grossing take on the Clown Prince of Crime, which seemingly shot down any future chances of Leto’s tattooed club-owner version. But according to a new interview with Leto in Variety, he had this to say:

Never say never. For me, they’re like living, breathing people. I know they’re not, of course, but I get attached. It’s a shame to never do it again.

It is honestly to Jared Leto’s credit that he is willing to stay on board for even a potential chance at playing the Joker again. The early days of the DCEU, as Warner Bros struggled to find a coherent approach to competing with Disney’s MCU, were tumultuous, to say the least. Under the watch of Zack Snyder, the attempted take on DC comics was generally grim, dour, and self-consciously edgy. In particular, Leto’s version of the Joker, which portrayed him as somewhere between a nu-metal fan and a goblin, was widely reviled by fans. It did not help that part of the press cycle around Suicide Squad leaned into Leto’s well-known reputation as a “Method” actor, which is what we currently call it when people act horribly to others in order to get into “character.” There have been conflicting reports as to Leto’s on-set behavior in that time period, so it is difficult to say how much of it was hype or actual stagecraft. 

jared leto

While Jared Leto sounds pretty willing to return to the role of the Joker, it feels somewhat unlikely to happen at this point. Leto was the fourth actor to portray the character in a live-action film (after Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, and Heath Ledger) and had the distinct disadvantage of playing the Joker immediately after Ledger’s immediately legendary, Oscar-Winning portrayal. Even if his Joker was not heavily leaning on explanatory tattoos to get his vibe across, pretty much any actor would have been working uphill to get out of the late Ledger’s shadow. But given that Suicide Squad has already been rebooted by James Gunn to critical acclaim and box office success, sans Leto, and Barry Keoghan already popped up for a late cameo in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, it is safe to assume the DCEU has moved on. 

But perhaps not. After all, both the MCU and DCEU are leaning heavily into the continuity-freeing multiverse concept, and there’s currently three different live-action Batmans around. So, why not a few different Jokers? In any case, Jared Leto is portraying a different creature of the night in Sony Picture’s much-delayed Morbius and rumored to be courted by Christopher Nolan for a new film, so it looks like Jordan Catalano is doing just fine.