'Suicide Squad' Director Says He Went Too Far with Joker's Tattoos

Suicide Squad writer-director David Ayer admitted on Twitter Sunday he went "too far" with his tattoo-covered take on famed Batman villain the Joker (Jared Leto).

"I have to fall on that sword," Ayer answered when asked if the Joker's oft-criticized tattoos were his idea. "It was one step too far."

Ayer previously told Yahoo Movies his tatted up take on the clown prince of crime was developed with each tattoo telling "a very specific story."

"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 said of the controversial look, which includes Joker boasting a cursive "damaged" across his forehead and a mouthy smile on the back of his hand.

"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 bringing his gritty DC Comics adaptation to the screen, Ayer took inspiration from real-life drug lords of Instagram.

"A lot of it has to do with creating a character with some kind of history and footprint in our world. And not have this sacrosanct being outside of our continuum, our reality," he told Yahoo UK.

"If a guy like him really existed today, where would he come from? How would he do business? Who would he know? What would he look like? In my mind, I took a lot of inspiration from drug lords on Instagram. It's a great way to understand the lifestyle of a villain."

Suicide Squad producer Andy Horowitz told press during a set visit the tattooed look emerged as a way to help differentiate the Joker of the DC Films universe from past iterations of the character, including Jack Nicholson's old school gangster clown and Heath Ledger's sloppier anarchist.

"I think we had to obviously do something different than people have seen before," Horowitz said.

Tats were also used to help define characters like the fiery Diablo (Jay Hernandez) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), the Joker's twisted and love-sick girlfriend-slash-partner in crime.


Ayer, who previously defended his film more heavily, has since walked back some of his comments — most recently reiterating on Twitter that the released film was "very different from original assembly."

Warner Bros. is now developing Suicide Squad 2 under director Gavin O'Connor.