Jared Leto wanted 'Joker' standalone film canned, likely won't reprise role for 'Suicide Squad' sequel: report
With the blockbuster success of Joaquin Phoenix's film 'Joker,' at least one commentator is sounding the alarm about the rise of the 'demonic anti-hero,' a dark character whose evil deeds are somewhat mitigated by our familiarity with them. So is the movie a harmless piece of escapism, or does it signal something very wrong with our culture? Here to debate are Dr. Alex McFarland and Michael Wear.
In a bombshell piece from The Hollywood Reporter, sources claim that Leto, 47, was so furious about Joaquin Phoenix's standalone "Joker" film that he tried to get his agents to cancel its production entirely.
Insiders alleged to THR that Leto, who starred as the iconic Batman villain in the much-maligned 2016 film "Suicide Squad," complained to his agents at CAA — who also represent "Joker" director Todd Phillips — as well as his music manager, Irving Azoff, to call higher-ups at Warner Bros. to cancel "Joker" in its cinematic infancy. He reportedly lamented that he wasn't being treated appropriately as an Oscar winner.
Jared Leto appears as the Joker in "Suicide Squad" in 2016. He will likely not reprise the role, and insiders claim he was livid at Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Phillips' standalone film "Joker." (Warner Bros.)
Phoenix, 44, has been nominated for three Oscars during his career and has generated significant buzz for another nomination for "Joker."
A source close to Leto reportedly denied the claims, while Azoff declined to comment to THR; Azoff no longer works with Leto.
Insiders told The Hollywood Reporter that the studio was unamused by Leto's efforts to get into the character of the Clown Prince of Madness for "Suicide Squad," especially with Leto's bizarre "gifts" to his co-stars, including bullets for Will Smith (who starred as Deadshot), a live rat for Margot Robbie (who played his love interest, Harley Quinn) and a dead pig to the entire ensemble cast.
Director Todd Phillips, left, holds the Golden Lion for Best Film for "Joker," joined by lead actor Joaquin Phoenix at the closing ceremony of the 76th edition of the Venice Film Festival, Venice, Italy, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. (AP)
Further, "Suicide Squad" director David Ayer reportedly wasn't impressed with Leto's over-the-top performance. Leto had about 10 minutes of total screentime in "Suicide Squad."
Leto is reportedly no longer working with CAA, who he reportedly felt should have informed him sooner of the "Joker" standalone project. A rep for the actor, however, told THR he is still happily participating in other projects with Warner Bros.
However, the upcoming James Gunn-directed "Suicide Squad" sequel and "Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)" won't feature his Joker, indicating that his days as the green-haired baddie are likely over.
A rep for Leto did not immediately return Fox News' request for comment.