Joker's Suicide Squad tattoos are "Easter eggs" that tell "very specific stories", says David Ayer

Everything we've seen from Suicide Squad so far makes two things abundantly clear; Margot Robbie is going to steal the show as Harley Quinn, and Jared Leto's Joker will be unlike any version of the character we've seen before. Indeed, the first image of Leto's Clown Prince of Crime drew a divisive response due to the villain's outlandish, tattoo-laden appearance, but director David Ayer has revealed that there's more to Joker's ink than initially meets the eye.

"The tattoos tell a very specific story", Ayer told Yahoo! Movies, "and eventually people will decipher them and understand what’s going on, but obviously they’re contentious, any time you do something new it’s contentious. There’s very specific stories and easter eggs in those tattoos. And even his teeth, there’s an entire story behind that which is absolutely canon. It’s putting his history on his body. This Joker is a little more working class, who I believe could live in our world".

"A lot of it has to do with creating a character with some kind of history and footprint in our world", Ayer continued. "And not have this sacrosanct being outside of our continuum, our reality. If a guy like him really existed today, where would he come from? How would he do business? Who would he know? What would he look like? In my mind, I took a lot of inspiration from drug lords on Instagram. It’s a great way to understand the lifestyle of a villain".

Doing something very different to a recent, very popular version of the infamous jester was always going to yield some blowback, but the character needs to be reinvented to fit the tone of whichever movie he's in. Jack Nicholson's gangster-like Joker was perfect for Tim Burton's 1989 Batman, and Heath Ledger's take on the villain was spot on for Christopher Nolan's anarchy-themed The Dark Knight in 2008. Here's hoping Leto's Joker is similarly ideal for Ayer's Suicide Squad.

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

Images: Warner Bros

Amon Warmann

Amon is a contributing editor and columnist for Empire magazine, but is also a Film and TV writer for GamesRadar+, Total Film, and others. He has also written for NME, Composer Mag, and more, along with being a film critic for TalkSport. He is also the co-host of the Fade to Black Podcast, and a video mashup creator. Can also do a pretty good Bane impersonation.