Suicide Squad Director Explains the Joker's Tattoos & Backstory


This summer movie season will close out with a bang when Warner Bros.’ Suicide Squad hits theaters on August 5, which will likely dominate at the box office well into fall. Many fans are looking forward to Jared Leto’s performance as The Joker, especially after hearing stories about his “method” acting ways on set, where he would never break character between takes. While there is still much we don’t know about this iteratation of the villaincharacter, director David Ayer offered some clues about what fans should look for on the big screen.

Yahoo! Movies visited the set back in July, where they spoke with David Ayer at length about crafting this unique story. We’ve already seen plenty of photos and footage of the The Joker, who certainly seems to be quite unique from any of the other versions we’ve seen in the past. Here’s what the director had to say about what he used as inspiration to create this new Joker.

“A lot of it has to do with creating a character with some kind of history and footprint in our world. 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.”

The first photo we saw of The Joker showed off his numerous tattoos, and it was teased in a piece of concept art that the villain’s own girlfriend, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) may have done the tattoos herself. As it turns out, there is a lot of meaning behind these tattoos, which fans will be able to decipher once the movie is released. Here’s what he had to say about the “specific story” being told through The Joker’s body art.

“The tattoos tell a very specific story. 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.”

The stories about Jared Leto‘s antics during the production have become the stuff of legend, whether it be the bizarre gifts he sent to his castmates, or even reports that his performance was so mesmerizing that the crew would stop working just to watch him play the Joker. When asked about Jared Leto’s method acting ways, David Ayer had this to say.

“With Jared, it’s tough for him. He constantly has to give birth to himself, he goes away, he comes back, he shoots, he goes away… The Joker is something you have to be, and you can see how exhausting and painful it is for him to be this character. But you can feel it when he comes to work, the crew feels it, everyone feels it. It’s like the birds stop flying. He’s f***ing terrifying.”

This DC Comics adaptation follows a team of the world’s most dangerous, incarcerated Supervillains, who are provided with the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and sent off on a mission to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity. U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller has determined only a secretly convened group of disparate, despicable individuals with next to nothing to lose will do. However, once they realize they weren’t picked to succeed but chosen for their patent culpability when they inevitably fail, will the Suicide Squad resolve to die trying, or decide it’s every man for himself? Stay tuned for more on Suicide Squad as we get closer and closer to the August 5 release date.


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