Suicide Squad director's "heart breaks" for Jared Leto, saying lots of Joker footage went unseen

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Jared Leto’s version of the Joker in Suicide Squad may not have been to everyone’s tastes, but director David Ayer has defended the tattoo-laden interpretation of the Clown Prince of Crime, saying his “heart breaks” for the actor.

Ayer, who had a hand in developing the look for Leto’s Joker, was drawn into a debate about the character on Twitter.

“For sure character creation is a tightrope,” Ayer said. “I took inspiration from the current DC comics. I find it incredible it’s still such a topic 5 years later. My heart breaks for Jared - he did magnificent work.”

As Ayer points out, Leto’s take on Joker still incites passionate reactions to this day, all despite having a relatively minor role in Suicide Squad. In fact, Ayer confirmed that most of the “magnificent work” was from footage cut out of the finished product and “remains unseen.”

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What of the ‘damaged’ forehead tattoo that drew so much ire? One Twitter user replied to Ayer, saying, it was “actually pretty ingenious, but only for those who understand. Joker got the tattoo because [Batman] damaged his smile in a failed attempt at revenge for killing Robin.” Ayer’s response, much like the ink, was just one word: “Exactly.”

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It’s unlikely we’ll see Leto as Joker again – a 2019 report stated he won't be playing the character moving forward, while Joaquin Phoenix won the Best Actor at this year's Oscars for his portrayal of Arthur Fleck’s Joker – so whatever remains of the rest of his performance remains consigned to the vaults of history (and Warner Bros).

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.