Jared Leto’s version of The Joker officially revealed: what do you think?


This is sort of old news, but it’s still trending on Twitter after a few days. I wanted to talk about Jared Leto’s version of the Joker since we covered his mid-stage Karl Lagerfeld look and shaved eyebrows. On Friday afternoon, Suicide Squad director David Ayer tweeted the final version of Leto in character. Officially, Ayer did this to mark the 75th anniversary of DC Comics creating the Joker supervillain. But let’s get real. This Friday positioning left the comic nerd faction plenty of time to crack jokes over the weekend. Here’s one of the best reactions and response firebacks:

I also saw several tweets that alluded to Marilyn Manson (who would have been cheaper to hire), Macaulay Culkin’s Home Alone character, and a shirtless Ben Affleck meme. In physical form, it’s obvious that DC is trying too hard. The hair, the single glove, and the grillz are fine. But the tattoos went into overkill, especially the “damaged” forehead tat. We already know the Joker has serious issues without DC spelling it out for us dummies. I don’t know what to make of the shaved pits. That’s probably a deep meta-reference that we couldn’t possibly understand. Badass Digest believes Leto’s Joker hails back to the late 1980s Killing Joke graphic novel, which presents Batman and the Joker as twin sides of the same tragic coin.

No matter what, people will pick on Jared’s portrayal of the Joker. He’s following up on Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance, which has been romanticized in the years following Ledger’s death. Jared has also won an Oscar, and Suicide Squad will be his first followup role. David Ayer says that Jared’s take on the role is “majestic.” Jared describes the Joker as a “nearly Shakespearean character, this beautiful disaster.” Eh. I don’t hold much confidence for DC to not mess this up. They’re making everything too “dark” now with a rumored “no jokes” movie mandate. Why so serious?

Ayer also recently tweeted this cast photo.

Will Smith

Jared Leto

Photos courtesy of DC/David Ayer on Twitter, Fame/Flynet & WENN

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124 Responses to “Jared Leto’s version of The Joker officially revealed: what do you think?”

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  1. Lindy79 says:

    I’m told this is in line with some of the comics looks but I’m meh.
    The Damaged tattoo on his head is a bit weird, it’s too perfect and the placement is ridiculous.

    • mia girl says:

      Yeah. For me it’s the tattooed HA HA HAs that look particularly forced and ridiculous.

    • Samtha says:

      It’s just too much. You know that old adage that before you leave the house, you should take off one piece of jewelry? Well, they needed to do that here–take away a couple of the tattoos, or the grill. Toned down, this might work, but put all together like this, it’s just eye-roll worthy.

  2. Jay says:

    Nope. Just nope. Too try hard, teenage angst, wannabe badass, etc. My favourite thing about Ledgers joker was its understatement. This is just too much in the wrong direction.

    • outstandingworldcitizen says:

      Exactly! I knew his version might be too posh. The make-up people need try again. Really? Hah ha ha ha tattoo and damaged in script on his forehead. If you’re gonna have face tattoo then it should look rough and sinister, and not be in cursive.

    • kcarp says:

      Does Hollywood not have any original ideas? How many jokers have we seen just in my lifetime, im 36. It’s so tiring

      • Paleokifaru says:

        When I first saw his Lagerfield look I thought he must be playing The Riddler and that somehow all the media outlets were confused! And let’s face it, that scenario would be better for everyone.

    • FLORC says:

      Great way of putting it.

      While I get Leto’s joker is a throwback in styling to the comic mentioned in thread Leto’s acting will surely be over the top and chewing the scenes.

    • Liv says:

      Yes. Gosh, the film will be a mess. Bad Batman, bad joker…why am I supposed to see the film? I rather watch the one with Bale and Ledger again.

    • Zwella Ingrid says:

      Ledgers Joker was hair raising-creepy. You can’t follow a performance like that unfortunately.. Let’s not judge Leto’s Joker based on an appearance. Leto is a good actor IMO but Ledger is going to be nearly impossible to aspire to. We will see. I think Leto looks creepy punk which is a different take.

    • Maria A. says:

      Not feeling it either.
      Ah well.

  3. Maya says:

    Oh God – he is going to ruin Jack and Heath’s legacies regarding the Joker.

    • Goats on the Roof says:

      I seriously doubt it. If he gives a shitty performance, it’ll just make Jack and Heath’s look even better by comparison.

    • atrain says:

      One of the reasons I liked Heath’s joker was because it was so different from Jack’s. His performance blew my expectations out of the water. Now Jared’s appears to be a totally different version, also. Jack and Heath’s Joker legacies will always remain safe, because this is going to be very different.

  4. Kath says:

    For the live of God, how many versions of Batman (or Spiderman) does the world need? What is the point?

    At least Iron Man, Guardians etc. hadn’t been committed to film before, so have some freshness to offer.

    • PinaColada says:

      +1 million!!!!!!!!

    • Shambles says:

      Preach. Gotta squeeeeze every possible penny out of these characters, because what is an original idea?

    • AG-UK says:

      Exactly (re-boots) not an original thought comes from that business same with TV shows why pray tell do you need all these versions of already good shows and then they ruin them. The Slap, The Bridge, etc..

    • FLORC says:

      There are a lot of variations to a lot of comic characters. It’s explained as alternate universes. And some have been big hits! This though… Ugh. When somebody has improved on an existing character so greatly they win an oscar you can try to follow that act. This soon in this OTT way though? No.
      I’m certain Leto thinks hes a genius for this.

  5. InvaderTak says:

    Wanna know how I got these scars? My father…..was a tattoo artist. And the gun blew up one day….

    Thats meh. It looks like a rejected album cover for the emo band of the year.

    And Leto describing your villain character as Shakespearean? Uhhhg. Been done. By an actual Shakespearean actor. Get over yourself JL.

  6. Tiffany27 says:

    I know this has absolutely nothing to do with the article, but has Cara Delevigne always had that huge of a forehead or is it the picture?

  7. Kaley says:

    The Damaged tattoo is something a bratty, “deep” teenager would get. He looks like a 17 year old Joker fan; not the Joker himself.

    Honestly, this film is so poorly cast. Kudos to Tom Hardy for abandoning the ship before it went down.

  8. Shambles says:

    I actually think the tattoos look kind of cool. But this, to me, is like a caricature of the joker. Heath’s was more raw. Nobody could fill those shoes.

    • taterho says:

      This is how I feel about it. It doesn’t seem to have anything behind it. It’s just like he’s cosplaying it. But I will wait for the actual performance to decide for myself. Unfortunately, I don’t have much hope for anything coming from DC at the moment.

      • Shambles says:

        I don’t have much hope for anything coming from the comic book universe right now, unless I’m allowed to call the joker a slut because he’s just a fictional character, you guys.

      • taterho says:

        I think everything is just a hate-watch at this point. I’m going to see BvS with clenched teeth.

    • Mimi says:

      Pretty much. I am actually a fan of Jared and I think he’s pretty talented. At the same time I’m like, Damn, he’s gotta follow Ledger. Not a position I would want to be in. I’m still not completely sure what it was about Heath that made him so special but he was just awesome. Good luck to Leto, though…

    • jinni says:

      People said the same thing about Heath filling Nicholson’s shoes. Look how that turned out. Also, I think people go on and on about Heath’s portrayal because that was one of his last roles before he died. I wonder if he would have gotten the Oscar if he hadn’t died. People aren’t even giving Leto a chance, but this seems to be how fandom acts towards pretty much ever actor that takes on a role in these types of movies and I’m sure he’ll prove the naysayers wrong.

      • Shambles says:

        I’m confused. In my original comment, the first thing I said was that the tattoos looked cool? It’s not that I’m not giving him a chance. It’s not any worse than Heath’s joker, just different. And I’m not sure what you’re implying with your “look how that turned out” comment, but it sounds like you’re alluding to the fact that Heath died shortly after portraying the joker. I don’t see how that tragedy has any relevance to this particular discussion, and it seems like you’re just trying to be adversarial. I’m not even part of “the fandom,” and I’m sure Leto will make a badass joker. I was simply commenting on the aesthetics of his joker costume, and I think you’ve taken it a little too far. We weren’t going “on and on” about Heath’s performance specifically as the joker, we were simply remembering an actor we loved who died too soon. There was no need for you to be so crass about his death.

      • orli says:

        ikr, they TOTALLY gave Heath Ledger the oscar because he died!! That’s why they gave James Gandolfini, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Peter O’Toole x 168376754 other actors who died oscars posthumously. Or James Dean, Spencer Tracy (both bigger stars than Ledger) who were nominated posthumously. Paul Walker will be an oscar winner come next year too, just mark my words. Not like Heath Ledger is only the second actor in oscar history to win an academy award after passing away. Oh wait…

      • jinni says:

        @Shambles: The “look how that turned out” was actually pointing out that everyone loved Heath’s turn as Joker despite all of the negativity surrounding his casting in the role. The rest of my comments was more towards the general feeling around the internet about Leto being cast and his look for the role. It just reminded me of how people treated Ledger. I put my comment under your comment because of the “Nobody can fill his shoes” comment in your first post which made me think of all the things that I wrote in my first post, not because you are necessarily ragging on him.

      • Mimi says:

        Actually, I believe there was Oscar talk while he was still filming TDK.

      • jinni says:

        Orli: Sure, not everyone gets an Oscar for their last role just like everyone that loses a ton of weight for a role doesn’t necessarily get a nom or wins. Doesn’t change the fact that I still believe his death was a major reason for him getting nominated and winning. We’re just going to have to agree to disagree.

      • cr says:

        @mimi, there was positive buzz about Ledger’s performance even before he died, I think people do forget that. Did his death affect how the performance was viewed? Of course, but in this case they weren’t buzzing about a bad performance just because someone died. Also, he’d previously been nominated for an Oscar. So it wasn’t as if a good performance was something new for him.

    • Shambles says:

      @Jinni, thanks for explaining. My apolgies for any misunderstanding. I think Leto will make a cool Joker in his own right. But they’ve re made these movies way too many times anyway, ya feel?

      • jinni says:

        No need to apologizes. I can see how you’d think I was attacking you, I’m sorry that I made you feel the need to defend yourself. It’s all good.

        They have done Batman a lot. I think DC sees how Marvel has been able to create a cohesive universe were all (okay most, since Marvel still doesn’t have control of the X-men and just recently got access to Spiderman) of their characters and movies live in the same timeline and their movies reference each other much like the comicbooks, giving long time comic fans a real life representation of the Universe they grew up loving. So that’s why they are putting out the new Batman and Joker.

    • MrsBPitt says:

      Heath’s version of the Joker, seemed like he could have been a real person, who, obviously, was a psychopath….I think that made his character creepier. I agree with the above poster, that Leto looks more like the Riddler, and I think that would have been a better choice. Heath’s Joker will never be matched!

    • Shambles says:

      @MrsB, good analysis. It’s hard for me to watch Heath’s Joker, knowing that getting into the head of his psychotic character took him to such a dark place.

    • Shambles says:

      @ Jinni, I just wanted to add one more thing for your consideration, as far as Heath’s Oscar. The following is purely speculation and opinion, but I find it eerily interesting to think about. One could potentially make the argument that, in a sense, Heath died for that Oscar. While I’m sure there were many other issues at play for him to have injested such lethal combo of prescription meds, it was widely speculated that inhabiting the persona of the Joker had something to do with Heath’s death. It was said that he was a method actor, a la Daniel Day Lewis, and that he had to dig deep and find the part of himself that identified with each character he played. He said himself the joker was twisted, soulless, a sociopath. So Heath was delving into the darkest parts of himself, and he stayed there for months at a time. “On set, Michael Caine said the performance sometimes turned so frightening he forgot his own lines.” – from Heath’s Rolling Stone obituary (which also the source for the info on his deep method acting). It makes you wonder. Could it have been that he couldn’t get the Joker out of his head? Could spending so much time inhabiting the darkest, scariest parts of himself have brought out the demons that ultimately lead to his death? Heath kept a “Joker diary” while prepping for and filming the role, and after they wrapped, he made his last entry. “Bye bye,” it said. Haunting. Gives me chills to the bone. Like I said, it’s purely speculation. Maybe he did get his Oscar because he died, but maybe he died for his work. “Find what you love and let it kill you.”

      • jinni says:

        Well, I would hope he didn’t choose a role over being in his child’s life? I think the whole “he was so method” was a way of minimizing the stigma of dying from an overdose. It’s better to say one died for their art then to admit that he was like a lot of addicts that had preexisting demons that he unfortunately chose to deal with by consuming drugs and those drugs took his life. I’m not saying that dwelling in such a negative place within himself for the role could not have contributed some to how much drugs he was taking at the time. Playing the Joker could have very well triggered him to start talking more drugs then he did before the role or start taking harder drugs then he use to, but I don’t think this role or the chance to win an Oscar are the main reasons why he is no longer here. It was an unfortunate accident.

  9. Sixer says:

    I don’t like Leto but I like that picture. Oops. That’s going to be a minority opinion, isn’t it?

    But what do I know? Never read a comic. Think the movies (those the Sixlets have made me watch) are pants.

    • Shambles says:

      I’m with ya. I think it’s pretty cool, albeit in a “The Joker at a rave on Ecstasy” way.

    • Kiddo says:

      I’m neutral on the imagery, but Marilyn Manson, the end.

    • Antonym says:

      I’ll stand with you, Sixer. I like it as well!

      P.S. I have a crush on Adam Beach and am excited to see him in this.

    • Kitten says:

      Yeah I don’t care about the comic book franchises–although I really enjoyed Nolan’s batman stuff–but this pic is ok right? It’s interesting, anyway.

    • Shambles says:

      @Kitten, interesting is a good way to describe it. It’s defintely striking.

    • Sixer says:

      It’s just got bags of energy about it, you know?

      I don’t know enough to critique the actual detail. It’s just a cool, lively image.

    • ab says:

      I like it too, very vibrant and comic-booky (yes, comic-booky). I’m getting a hyper deranged silliness vibe from this one, whereas heath’s joker was more the dark and sinister type.

    • sills says:

      Yeah I admit I like it, it made me jump in my chair like a villain should. The “damaged” tattoo, though…c’mon.

    • Erinn says:

      I’m cool with it too. It’s just a creepier version of 90′s cartoon batman, really.

  10. Flounder says:

    Honestly, that picture kind of scares me, so I’m open to seeing leto make a great performance.

    • Diana B says:

      Yeah, he looks deranged, which is the way it’s supposed to look. We shall wait an see how thw oerformance turns out but I don’t hate the aesthetics.

  11. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    This is not a judgement, but I just can’t for the life of me understand why this interests people.

    • Shambles says:

      I think it speaks to the crazy power of superhero fandoms.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I guess I just missed the boat. I hated Batman as a child, and never liked comic books. Not sure why.

    • Lola says:

      I missed the boat as well. Also those films are really for kids. As much as older people want to try to get all philosophical and mention the violence, I haven’t met any adults who watch them (unless they’re gamer nerds).

      • nim says:

        “Are really for kids” No. Since your friends don’t watch them,it doesn’t mean there’s not an adult audience. There are plenty of adult people who like comic book movies. The Nolan’s trilogy is just an exemple.

    • Shambles says:

      I hear you, @ GNAT and Lola. I grew up with a brother so I was exposed to it a lot of the time, but I was more into Darkwing Duck. Lol

    • Kitten says:

      Me neither. I mean, no judgment on people who are invested, I just don’t get the interested in Batman VXII or whatever.

    • GingerCrunch says:

      God save us all. I went to an Easter dinner where the conversation was completely and totally hijacked by two college guys discussing, debating and comparing/contrasting Spider Man and the Avengers and I seriously wanted to gouge my eyes out! THEN it devolved into WWE. UGH. Collegers! I was scared by their level of investment.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        That must have been the dinner from hell. I admire you for NOT gouging your eyes out. Lol

      • GingerCrunch says:

        LOL, GNAT! Yup. Worst part was that our hosts were the loveliest 70-something couple and they got shut-out at their own party! I maintain that it was just really bad manners, but I’ll be prepared next time with some good diversion tactic.

  12. NewWester says:

    I have heard they are filming in Toronto right now. Anyone in Toronto heard of any star sightings? As for this version of the Joker, he is light years different from Jack Nickelson’s portrayal and if you go further back Caesar Romero in the old Batman television series. I might check this movie out

  13. Goats on the Roof says:

    As I remember it, people weren’t too keen on Heath Ledger’s Joker until the first trailer was released. The tats here aren’t to my taste (overall I like the look, though), but I’ll wait to reserve judgment.

    • cr says:

      I like Ledger’s interpretation of Joker, and I’ll watch this to see how Leto does.
      I think my issue with SS isn’t yet another version of the Joker, but how many superhero movies do we need, especially the ones they keep rebooting just a few years after a previous series?

  14. Joke says:


  15. MeloMelo says:

    Someone said that the reason he has Joker themed tattoos is because he’s a narcissist.
    I still find them tacky.

  16. Cc says:

    DC always tries too hard, Jared Leto always tries too hard…

  17. ClaireB says:

    I love the obviousness of it. It makes me think they’re going to play on it. They know it’s too much, the cards, the traditionnal joker face, the HAHAHAHA. I think the ” try-hard” reaction it’s exactly what they were expecting. I love also how it’s reminiscent of one the most beloved joker/batman story “The killing joke” by Alan Moore, with the lettering , the attitude..

    They’re screaming in our face : “He’s the joker, don’t believe everything you see.”

  18. Insomniac says:

    Guess I’m the oddball, but I like it. I’m glad they didn’t just try to copy Heath Ledger’s look.

  19. Mindrew says:

    Bleurgh… Every comic fan I know is unimpressed. If THEY think it’s ‘try too hard’ <- maybe it's a bit too much…

    My big question is why didn't they wait to see IF anyone is even interested in seeing another DC movie after Batman vs Superman before starting this one? Not for nothing…. They're spending a whole lot of cash on these movies and they could bomb as big as the Green Lantern flick did.

  20. serena says:

    He looks like the dumbass he is. He needs to be more ‘unmade’, IMO. Also, no jokes? Wtf it’s Joker!

  21. Nicolette says:

    Definitely giving me some Marilyn Manson vibes. Heath Ledger’s version of The Joker was just phenomenal and I somehow doubt Leto will be able to top it.

  22. Penny says:

    * Ugh Cara Delevigne Ugh * Is it a mandate that she has to be everywhere all of the time? I feel like she’s taking a Kardashian approach to attempted entertainment domination. Blargh.

  23. Naddie says:

    Tacky, obvious and scary at the same time. But I’m with Kath, how many more versions of Batman and Spiderman do they have to do? At least pick another hero.

  24. Eleonor says:

    Hello 1992 Marilyn Manson !
    I like it.

    • Marrria says:

      You’re so right it does resemble Marilyn Manson! :D
      I’m sooo rocking this look on Halloween this year.

  25. jugstorecowboy says:

    All I see is Adebisi! Won’t see the movie (I LIKE jokes!!!), but maybe Adewale Akinnuoye Agbaje will do some interviews. Please cover them!

    • Lilacflowers says:

      Does he ever do interviews? He is a reason, perhaps the only reason, to see this movie. I do hope he gets some dialog, unlike Thor, Dark World.

  26. Adrien says:

    Looks like Jim Carey as Riddler. Jim’s Riddler was at least intentionally campy. Leto’s tattoos aren’t creative.

  27. lower-case deb says:

    would’ve been better if the ‘damaged’ tattoo is mis-spelled (like the ones in that website that collects bad tattoos).

    if only the pictur is like amazing cursive but glaring mispelling on one’s forehead, displayed confidently by the owner… preferably still fresh red and swollen and wrapped in cling film with tacky tiled bathroom as backdrop. is a selfie an overkill?

  28. kc says:

    I know I’m in the minority but I really like it, it’s scary and mesmerizing.

  29. Mzizkrizten says:

    I personally love the new Joker look. Properly insane and fitting with the times. Right-o.

  30. Joy says:

    My husband is a nerd and thinks it’s close to the comics. I say, they HAD to go in a different direction than Heath, because people just can’t let go of that Joker. It was so gritty, and scary, and gross, and powerful that we just can’t imagine it any other way. But the character is the JOKER. He’s supposed to be this crazy, frightening but creepily whimsical character. Like a fun house where you might actually get killed inside.

    • Ange says:

      Good analysis! You’ve swung me around on this, at first I was skeptical but now I can get behind it a little bit.

  31. Veronica says:

    I didn’t even notice the tattoos because I was too busy looking at his face. The face is good – creepy in a maddening sort of way. The tattoos are a bit overkill, but we’ll see. This is some early promo stuff. Might change during filming.

  32. unmade_bed says:

    Thanks to a story I read on this site about Jared and his brother sexually sharing a groupie in a hotel room, I never want to see his vapid face and pony mane again.

  33. A.Key says:

    How can you pass judgments based on a PHOTO? Isn’t the way he acts more important than what he looks like?? Especially with a character like the Joker where the fear and “disturbia” come from his effed up behavior and sense of humor and mannerisms. I really can’t tell if this will be any good or not until I see how Leto performs him, not what makeup they applied to him.

    And on another note, I learned my lesson years ago when I first heard they had cast Ledger as the Joker in the new Batman. Ledger, the dude from 10 Things I Hate About You and A Knight’s Tale (both of which I love, btw). I couldn’t believe it. I laughed and laughed and laughed and thought, Jesus, poor Jack Nicholson and how can anyone top his brilliant performance really.

    Well boy was I wrong.

  34. Isabelle says:

    He looks like a 40 year old devoted fan headed to a Marilyn Mansion concert. Middle-aged goth joker, nope not impressed.

  35. P'enny says:

    so he’s name dropping Shakespeare as an influence in developing his version of the Joker? did I read that right? seriously, Jared copying someone’s else approach to supervillians, much #cough Hiddleston?

  36. Stephanie says:

    I think Jared will do ok with the role, but personally I think it’s too soon after Heath to do another re-imagining of the Joker.

  37. Esmerelda says:

    I hope they’re going to camp it up to the max, and not go down the ‘killing joke’ road…that would be creepy/disturbing/how can you do that in 2015?. (google it)

  38. Tempest in a teapot says:

    Looks just like your average run-of-the-mill meth head to me.

  39. christin says:

    Love it!! New updated look! How the joker would appear today rather then the OLD OUTDATED SAME OLD SAME OLD!!

  40. Mispronounced Name Dropper says:

    The characters in Batman seem a bit Aspie to me with their obsessions with things like: Bats, Penguins, Jokes, Riddles, Cats etc.

  41. Debutante says:

    I have to say, the first look I got of this picture, I did jump a little bit ! It’s startling…imagine it on the big screen ? Creepy…

  42. Kate says:

    I like it. Sue me. DC’s made so many bad choices regarding their cinematic universe that maybe at this point something, anything they throw might stick. This could be it.

  43. CH2 says:

    wow… this is SO not good.

  44. moi says:

    Heath was the most disturbing as the Joker. Such an amazing performance. Passed away or not, he would have won an Oscar. However, I have read that this look is more towards the comic book character itself. Eh, I don’t mind them changing it up. It will all depend on JL’s performance.

    My teen daughter dressed up to the hilt as the Jokers girlfriend this past halloween. She looked amazingly….disturbing, yet of course beautiful. I said “oh, I didn’t even know he was dating..”

  45. Saks says:

    If they wanted to tattooed him they should’ve gone all ‘mara salvatrucha’, they look damn scary