There was quite a bit hype around Jared Leto's debut as the Joker in David Ayer's Suicide Squad, but once the final film emerged in theaters the actor's take on the villain was barely in the movie. That didn't sit well with fans or Leto, and neither did the fact that Warner Bros. gave the green light to Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix's Joker film. A previous report said Leto felt alienated by the studio after learning Phoenix would become the character, but a new report by THR says that Leto did more than just stew about the project. According to sources familiar with Leto, when he found out about the new Joker project he complained bitterly to his agents at CAA, who also represents Phillips, and also asked his music manager Irving Azoff to call the head of Warners and get the project killed.
Another source in Leto's camp says Leto never asked Azoff to do that. As for Azoff, he declined to comment, but someone with knowledge of this particular situation says he never made the call. Leto has since moved from CAA to WME, though according to a source Leto and CAA were more than happy to part ways. Leto was upset about not being told about the project sooner by his agents and though they should've fought harder for his Joker, though a source with first-hand knowledge of the situation says that Leto had already gone through four different teams of agents at CAA, so their patience was thin with the actor.
Phoenix's Joker was never billed as a replacement for Leto's Joker, as Phoenix and Phillips' film exists as a stand-alone film outside of any continuity of DC's other films. That said, it would seem we aren't going to see Leto return as the Clown Prince of Crime anytime soon.
Joker stars Phoenix (Arthur Fleck/Joker), Zazie Beetz (Sophie Dumond), Robert De Niro (Murray Franklin), Brett Cullen (Thomas Wayne), Frances Conroy (Penny Fleck), Marc Maron (Ted Marco), Douglas Hodge (Alfred Pennyworth), Josh Pais (Hoyt Vaughn), Bryan Tyree Henry, Bryan Callen, Shea Whigham, and Glen Fleshler. You can find the official description below.
"Drama. Joker centers around the iconic arch-nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. The exploration of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study but also a broader cautionary tale."3comments
Joker is in theaters now.
Do you wish Jared Leto's Joker had been allowed to return? Let us know in the comments!