Jared Leto's Joker 'ripped out of' Suicide Squad

Jared Leto as Joker in Suicide Squad. twitter.com/DavidAyerMovies

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With a “Snyder Cut” of Justice League being greenlit by HBO Max, Suicide Squad director David Ayer has been dropping hints that fans might one day see a different version of his maligned 2016 supervillain team-up movie.

Ayer, who has periodically updated his social media followers on the fractured production, which shot in Toronto during the summer of 2015, has been more vociferous since it was announced last month that director Zack Snyder will be given a chance to fully realize his vision for Justice League in a longer cut set to debut exclusively on HBO Max in 2021.

“My cut would be easy to complete. It would be incredibly cathartic for me. It’s exhausting getting your ass kicked for a film that got the Edward Scissorhands treatment. The film I made has never been seen,” Ayer wrote on Twitter last month.

Many of the changes that he has hinted at point to a completely different picture, and one in which Jared Leto’s “terrifying” Joker played a bigger role.

“Jared was pretty mistreated during this. No one has seen his performance. It was ripped out of the movie,” Ayer shared this week.

Earlier, he told a fan that he had a darker death planned for Common’s character Monster T. “Joker intimidated him into killing himself,” he tweeted.

After director Joss Whedon stepped in to complete Justice League, lightening its tone and excising plot points, calls for a release of Snyder’s original take have continued unabated since its 2017 theatrical version originally debuted. Over the years stars of that film, including Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot, were also vocal in wanting to see Snyder’s vision restored.

Aquaman star Jason Momoa told the Sun in 2018 that Snyder had a specific idea of how he wanted the interconnected series of DC films to play out.

“He had it all planned out. He had the plan for Justice League. I really do believe that Cyborg and Wonder Woman, and all that has been shaped, is because of Zack,” Momoa said.

Now, the film will get a refresh with new special effects and a new score. According to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO Max is mulling a four-hour director’s cut or TV-style chapters. The cast of the film have been notified their services may be needed.

Last year, THR reported that Leto was angry over Warner Bros.’ decision to make a standalone Joker with Joaquin Phoenix, but when he was promoting Suicide Squad’s theatrical release, he was hopeful that he would return to the role.

“I hope it’s an introduction (of the Joker) … and not the end!” he told the Sun, “I could easily just play the Joker a couple more times and then retire. Because it’s so fulfilling and so creative and it’s so imaginative. It’s really difficult to think about doing anything else.”

Leto also revealed that he wanted his Clown Prince of Crime to go up against Ben Affleck’s Batman in his now-cancelled solo outing.

“I think it would be incredible to see Batman and the Joker go head-to-head! This Batman and this Joker. I mean, I don’t know, that might be too much! But that would be fun.”

At the time of Suicide Squad’s original release, Ayer acknowledged cutting much of Leto’s Joker, but told Collider that he stood by the film that was going into theatres. “There’s no sort of parallel-universe version of the movie — the released movie is my cut,” he said.

With the “Snyder Cut” now a reality, though, Ayer has been dropping hints at a drastically different film.

“I took my inspiration from (Dark Knight director Christopher) Nolan,” he told one follower. “There were real scenes with incredible acting between Jared and Margot. Joker was terrifying. Harley was complex.” To another fan, he confirmed that Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and Will Smith’s Deadshot “hooked up as a couple.”

Elsewhere, he complained that his “layered” storyline was scrubbed in favour of something that would have more mass appeal. “After the (Batman v Superman) reviews shell shocked the leadership at the time, and the success of Deadpool — My soulful drama was beaten into a ‘comedy,’” he tweeted.

While Suicide Squad wasn’t the financial failure Justice League was — the film grossed $736.8 million at the global box office on a budget of $175 million — Ayer wasn’t invited back to direct the sequel. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn is helming a follow-up, due out next year, with Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney and Viola Davis the only original cast-members returning. Still, Ayer hopes his idea of what it could have been will one day be available to fans to watch — even if it’s five years from now.

“Imagine if Todd Phillips’ Joker was reshot and recut because it was too dark — This is EXACTLY what happened to Suicide Squad,” he said.