Zazie Beetz Confirms No Damaged Tattoos or Grillz in New ‘Joker’ Movie

Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker won’t be going the way of Jared Leto’s tatted-up, grillz-sporting Clown Prince of Crime.

“No. And I haven’t seen any grillz up to this point,” Joker star Zazie Beetz joked at ACE Comic Con when asked if this spin on the famed Batman villain will be seen with facial tattoos like his Suicide Squad counterpart.

The Todd Phillips-directed Joker acts as an origin story for Phoenix’s costumed criminal and is set in its own continuity outside of the mainstream DCEU, where the psycho clown mob boss is played by Jared Leto. That film came under fire for its controversial re-imagining of the Joker, who has a metal-filled mouth and an ink-covered body.

Suicide Squad writer-director David Ayer recently admitted he went “one step too far” when giving the Joker a tattoo reading “damaged” sprawled across the character’s forehead in cursive. “I have to fall on that sword,” he wrote on Twitter.

Ayer previously explained each tattoo was intended to tell “a very specific story,” with the grill coming after Joker had his teeth beaten out by a ferocious Batman (Ben Affleck) after the Joker’s murder of young sidekick crimefighter Robin.

“And eventually people will decipher them and understand what’s going on, but obviously they’re contentious, any time you do something new it’s contentious,” Ayer reasoned to Yahoo Movies. “There’s very specific stories and Easter eggs in those tattoos. And even his teeth, there’s an entire story behind that which is absolutely canon. It’s putting his history on his body. This Joker is a little more working class, who I believe could live in our world.”

In trying to paint a more realistic portrait of the Joker, Ayer borrowed inspiration from real-life drug lords of Instagram, saying the look emerged as a means of “creating a character with some kind of history and footprint in our world.”

Frequent paparazzi photos snapped on the New York location shoots of Joker revealed candid shots of Phoenix’s take on the character, who has the character’s iconic green-tinged hair and white facial makeup, but with a red nose, red painted-on eyebrows, and blue eyeshadow. Subsequent set photos offered a look at Beetz’s Sophie Dumond, who has been described as a down-on-her-luck, hard-working single mother living in the Gotham slums.

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“I honestly don’t think I can,” Beetz said during her ACE Comic Con appearance when asked to divulge details about her character. “But it’s a really good script.”

Joker opens October 4, 2019.