Suicide Squad’s Worst Decision Was A Bad Joke, Director Reveals
Suicide Squad had Jared Leto play a Joker with a "Damaged" tattoo across his forehead, which was apparently supposed to be a joke made at Batman's expense.
Bright director David Ayer has revealed via Twitter that Suicide Squad‘s most controversial decision began as a bad joke. In 2016’s Suicide Squad, Jared Leto’s Joker took on an all-new look, setting the portrayal apart from other actors who have taken on the role, such as Joaquin Phoenix or Heath Ledger. One of the major stylistic choices was the character’s many tattoos, including the now notorious “Damaged” tattoo across the Joker’s forehead, which Ayer now claims came into existence to troll Batman.
Long before James Gunn took the wheel of the DC film universe via his reboot of the villain team with 2021’s The Suicide Squad, David Ayer held firm that the film would take iconic characters such as Harley Quinn and the Joker to a whole new level with the debut performances of Margot Robbie and Jared Leto respectively. Of course, as we now know, Jared Leto’s role was significantly reduced during the post-production and editing process, leaving many of his scenes on the cutting room floor. Since it was revealed that David Ayer’s original vision was highly tampered with by the studio, many fans have taken to Twitter to demand the so-called “Ayer cut,” much like Zack Snyder’s specialty Justice League cut which was released in 2021.
Perhaps, as Ayer alludes to in his Tweet responding to a fan question demanding answers for the origins of the forehead ink, the Ayer cut would have provided us with the context of the tattoo. David Ayer’s explanation states that, in his original vision for Suicide Squad, Ben Affleck‘s Batman would have punched Jared Leto’s teeth out, damaging his visage, which prompted the Joker to get the tattoo, taunting Batman for his failure to prevent him from continuing to wreak havoc across Gotham. Despite mixed feelings from the general public responding to the Tweet, Ayer expressed that the Damaged tattoo was the only aesthetic choice he made for the film that he regrets today.
In the released film, Batman is seen for little more than moments during a cameo appearance, in which he fights Will Smith’s Deadshoot and then later discusses the team that Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller has constructed. Whether the Suicide Squad Ayer cut exists or not seems to be up for debate, but a scene of Jared Leto trolling Batman could have been a saving grace for the film, which many critics lamented for being too visually unappealing and poorly paced. Leto would go on to blow another chance at playing an iconic comic book villain in 2022’s Morbius, which also flopped at the box office… twice.
Now, with Suicide Squad and Jared Leto in his past, David Ayer seems keen on looking forward to the future. Since releasing the critically panned film in 2016, Ayer has gone on to direct 2017’s Bright, 2020’s The Tax Collector, and 2 episodes of the Fox original series Deputy, according to IMDb. His latest film, The Beekeeper, is an action venture starring Jason Statham, which currently has no listed release date, but promises to bring Statham’s textbook brand of high intensity combined with David Ayer’s fast-paced editing work.