Jared Leto 'distraught' by decision to cast Joaquin Phoenix as Joker

When it was originally announced that Todd Phillips had written and planned to direct Joaquin Phoenix in a brand new origin story for Joker movie-fans were left a little perplexed.

That’s because we’d only just seen Jared Leto portray the legendary Batman villain in Suicide Squad, and audiences had expected to see plenty more of him in the DC Extended Universe for many years to come. Particularly because his screen time in Suicide Squad was so limited.

Jared Leto as Joker in Suicide Squad
Jared Leto as Joker in Suicide Squad

It turns out that Leto himself was just as confused by Warner Bros’ decision to make a brand new Joker film. In fact, a new piece by The Hollywood Reporter on the origins of Joker has revealed that the Oscar-winning star of Dallas Buyers Club was both “alienated and upset by the move.”

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It is hard to see how Leto will actually return as the character, especially in the wake of the huge box office success of Joker, which broke box office records upon its release at the start of October.

Joaquin Phoenix as Joker
Joaquin Phoenix as Joker

Both Phillips and Phoenix have already started to tease their interest in returning to the villain, too, and with James Gunn already hard at work shooting his semi-reboot of Suicide Squad, which doesn’t include the character, there just doesn’t seem to be any room or anyone interested in Leto’s Joker.

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All of which is a shame considering the intrigue and excitement that surrounded Leto’s original casting. The poor reaction to Suicide Squad immediately subdued this enthusiasm, although several critics did praise his performance and insisted they couldn’t wait to see him given more screen time.

Writer and director David Ayer ultimately took the blame for the lack of Joker in Suicide Squad, admitting he wished he had made him “the main villain.”