Jared Leto is embracing his new role as the Joker in DC Comics' upcoming PG-13 movie Suicide Squad. The highly-anticipated movie won't be released in theaters until August 5th, so all we can do is wait and talk about it. That's certainly what Leto is doing, by giving us his take on the epic comical villain in an interview with Total Film via Digital Spy, stating:
"The only villain who may be more infamous is the devil."
Do We Agree?
One would have a hard time arguing with this very bold statement, as the character first appeared in 1940 in the first issue of the Batman comic book called Batman #1. Here we are, 76 years later and still as obsessed as ever.
The Joker's inspiration dates back to the American Civil War era, upon the invention of the trump card in the trick-taking card game Euchre. Since then, it's been adopted into most standard card games as the wild card, which could not be a more accurate description of the DC villain.
The Joker does have a bit of catching up to do with Satan, whose origins can be traced back to before 300 BCE in Israel and is kind of the embodiment of evil itself. So yeah, there's that.
Who Else Might Have A Fighting Chance?
The Joker may also have some competition from Medusa, who has been around since Greek mythology. The Gorgon's stone-turning stare and snake-filled hair have a life of their own. The monster found her way into Marvel comic books in 1965 as Madam Medusa, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Some would claim Darth Vader holds a torch to the Joker, too. However, the latter has 37 years on Vader, who has not yet infiltrated pop culture to the extent of the Joker. While everyone should know who Darth Vader is, EVERYONE does know who the Joker is.
The list of epic villains is a long one, including legends such as Hannibal Lecter, Lord Voldemort, Sauron, the Terminator, Freddy Krueger, Beetlejuice, Maleficent, the Big Bad Wolf, Alex DeLarge, and a handful of comic book criminals (many of whom we can expect to see in Suicide Squad).
Why Do We Prefer The Joker?
The Joker is undoubtedly one of the most suspenseful and entertaining villains, and we never know what to expect. In the same interview, Jared Leto added, "He's an icon, a legend, the baddest of the bad." The complexity of this criminal's unusual psychopathic psychology is absurd and the tricks are infinite yet always memorable.
Besides, he's probably the most fun villain to watch. He's enjoying himself, we're enjoying ourselves, it's a win-win. That is, with the exception of his victims and those trying to defeat him. Details.
Will Jared Leto Succeed In Carrying The Torch After Raising The Stakes?
The pressure is on for Jared Leto, who will undoubtedly be compared to every other Joker to ever appear on screen. This is also a long list, as this villain has been beautifully portrayed by an array of talented, award-winning actors for decades.
Cesar Romero was the first actor (and dancer) to bring the comic book character to life in the original Batman series in 1966. Who could forget Jack Nicholson's brilliant interpretation in Tim Burton's 1989 adaptation?
The role was most recently portrayed by the late Heath Ledger in his epic performance in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight (2008). Ledger, who was Nolan's first and only choice for the role, was destined to play the Joker. This part had not appeared on screen in nearly 20 years, but the acting was so incredible that Ledger received an Oscar, even after he had passed away.
Let's Not Forget About The Notorious Voices In The DC Animated Universe
Mark Hamill stood in as the Joker's voice for the longest time in multiple versions (including video games last year), but particularly in Batman: The Animated Series from 1992 to 1994.
The list of voice actors is never-ending; nonetheless, they all gave the part their own personal flair. The list consists of Kevin Michael Richardson, Jeff Bennett, Steve Blum, John DiMaggio, Brent Spiner, Michael Emerson, and Troy Baker.
We're With You, Jared Leto!
So, maybe the actor has a point; aside from the devil, the Joker is pretty much second in line (kind of, sort of, maybe?). Leto has also been taking his role quite seriously and — as one should — has tapped into his character even after the cameras have stopped rolling.
Or have you not heard about his prank to co-star Margot Robbie (his on-screen love interest Harley Quinn)? He was being his romantic Joker self and sent her a love letter with a black box. What was in the box, you ask? A live rat.
Welcome, Jared Leto, to becoming the new Joker (on and off screen)!
Who do you think is the most epic villain in history (besides the obvious devil)?
Sources: Total Film via Digital Spy