After the slow social media reveal of Jared Leto as the infamous Joker in the new Suicide Squad movie (so slow in fact that fans began to wonder whether the Joker would even feature), the first full length image has been released.
Empire Magazine has unveiled images of their Suicide Squad magazine cover, which shows Leto’s character in his full bare-chested glory.
Leto has revealed that he got into character to play the psychopathic King of Clowns by fully immersing himself in the role, staying in character when he wasn’t filming. Not an easy experience.
In fact, he offered quite a vivid description: “it was very painful, like giving birth out of my prick hole.” Wow. Painful indeed.
Director of the latest DC offering David Ayer has said that Leto’s take on the villain will differ from his predecessors:
“The Joker is the third rail of comic book movies. There’s a power to that character, and by some freaking miracle, through the incredible things Jared has done and the photography and all the other millions of things that went into it, we’ve cooked up something transcendent. He’s scary.”
But that wasn’t enough to reassure every fan about the new look:
Whaaaaaaaaat universe are we living in where everyone doesn't find the Jared Leto nu metal Joker aesthetic just cringingly embarrassing
— ''Steve'' (@extranapkins) October 26, 2015
Yes, Leto’s Joker is different from what we’re used to.
His silver teeth, extensive tattoos, bare feet and Arkham branded tracksuit bottoms paired with a purple snakeskin coat indicate that the sharply dressed psychopath has perhaps descended into full lunacy this time round.
Not so much a functioning psychopath perhaps, as he doesn’t quite seem able to dress himself properly… But the cane is back, so that’s something.
Can we just repeat that he’s wearing tracksuit bottoms and a purple snakeskin coat? With no shoes? He’s either really let himself go, or we’ve missed the memo on nu-wave LA street style. (And to be honest, we’ve never actually received any LA style memos before so either is equally possible.)
Whether you love or hate the new look Joker, there’s no doubt it will become embedded in pop culture. As with the earlier on-screen versions from Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, Leto’s depiction of the Clown Prince of Crime is certain to become iconic in the fashion stakes. And all just in time for Halloween.
Whether or not forehead tattoos take off remains to be seen.
So how does Jared Leto’s Joker compare to his predecessors?
Cesar Romero played the Joker in the Batman television series from 1966 – 1968. He was the first live version of the pasty-faced psychopath and strayed a little from the classic green hair, purple suit combination with his fuschia pink threads and bright yellow hair, making him the most clown-like of all the live action Jokers.
Romero famously refused to shave off his suave moustache for the role, meaning that white make-up just had to be plastered on over the top of it, which is never a good look for anyone really, is it? Compare this grinning clown face to the truly psychotic glare of Leto… It makes Romero look like he’s been invited along to entertain at a children’s birthday party.
Jack Nicholson brought the Clown Prince of Crime to the cinema screen in Batman (1989), sporting a permanent rictus grin due to severe facial injury. For many, Nicholson got the balance of comedy clown and cruel killer just right – his macabre sense of humour a highlight of the character.
Nicholson’s Joker was undoubtedly a snappy dresser. Perhaps the snappiest of them all with his trademark fedora, checked trousers, pocket hankerchief and perfectly bleached skin.
So what does Nicholson think of Leto’s bare-chested, tattooed Joker? Have a look for yourself in this hilarious edit of the About Schmidt ending…
For many, Heath Ledger’s performance of the Joker in The Dark Knight (2008) is the definitive depiction of the villainous clown, but this could partly be due to the fact that it was almost 20 years on from Nicholson’s now outdated, over-stylised look. Ledger ditched the cane and gloves, fashioning The Joker as much less a pantomime villain, and more of a real life psychopath.
Ledger’s Joker was punk rock influenced and had his face slathered in make up, rather than bleached by chemicals like Nicholson before him. Although he stuck to the smart get-up, Ledger was much rougher around the edges, the dapper style replaced by something a lot more dishevelled and sinister.
Looking at the progression of the Joker’s style and appearance over the years, it feels right that Leto brings something new to the table in the form of tattoos and silver teeth. Each Joker has got a little bit darker, and Leto could perhaps be the darkest of them all.
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