Suicide Squad director on Letos Joker: “The hairs stand up on the back of your neck”

The Joker is kind of like The Doctor from Doctor Who – he’s a character that’s been played by many actors over the course of many years, and everyone has their favorite version. And from the moment of his casting, fans have wondered what Jared Leto’s take on the Joker will bring. According to Suicide Squad director David Ayer, the answer is chills.

“The hairs stand up on the back of your neck,” Ayer told USA Today (opens in new tab). “If you’re a Batman fan, you have to love/hate the Joker because he’s the best nemesis ever. Just to have him on one of my film sets, it was a very memorable thing for me.” Ayer also said that this Joker isn’t different just because of the actor, but because of the “continuity of history” that comes with him. The challenge, Ayer said, is in remaining faithful to the character but to “push him into this next world, next time, next phase.”

It’s curious phrasing that might add a little fuel to a current theory (opens in new tab) going around about Leto’s Joker. Potential spoilers (if the theory turns out to be correct) ahead. Fans are speculating that this Joker is not the DC cinematic universe’s original, but is rather Jason Todd, AKA Robin. In the comics, Todd was captured and beaten to death by the Joker, only to be brought back from the dead and take up the moniker, “The Red Hood.”

If this is the “continuity of history” that Ayer is referring to, it would make sense that Suicide Squad could present a “new” Joker without trying to overwrite the contributions of actors like Heath Ledger. A way to have madman-flavored cake and eat it too, as it were. Or maybe Ayer is just talking up Leto’s performance and I’m reading too much into this. We’ll find out this summer!

Directed by David Ayer and starring Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Jai Courtney, and Joel Kinnaman, Suicide Squad will open in the UK and US on August 5, 2016.

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Image credit: DC Comics/Warner Bros.

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