Joker might be Hollywood’s most popular movie at the moment — it’s made over $700 million at the worldwide box office — but if Oscar-winning actor and musician Jared Leto had his way, the film would have never been made. Or at least, that’s what The Hollywood Reporter is saying.
According to THR, which is pretty reputable, Leto was so against the Joaquin Phoenix-headlined film that he reached out to both his acting and musical agents in an attempt to stop the film before it could pick up steam. Actors have egos, who knew?
Leto played the Joker in 2016’s Suicide Squad as a sort of insane crime lord on speed, far different from Phoenix’s more toned down take on the character. Famously, Suicide Squad didn’t do that well, which may have torpedoed any dreams Leto had of playing the Clown Prince of Crime for years on end. Making things even more awkward, Leto’s agency, CAA, also represents Joker director Todd Phillips. And it only gets better.
THR also reports that Leto felt strung along by Warner Bros., which promised him a standalone Joker film based on his version of the character, only to see Phoenix get the nod instead. Apparently, Warner Bros. gave Phillips the go-ahead to make his Joker only reluctantly, hoping the small budget would discourage him from making this riskier, darker movie. That really backfired/worked out brilliantly for them.
Leto also didn’t help his case with his bizarre actions on the set of Suicide Squad. He was reported to give out strange gifts, including a live rat to Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), bullets to Will Smith (Deadshot), and a dead pig to the entire cast during rehearsal. Leto’s Joker also doesn’t appear in Birds of Prey, Margot Robbie’s upcoming solo Harley Quinn movie.Margot Robbie headlined Harley Quinn spinoff, Birds of Prey.
And there’s one more twist. Leto, after feeling his agents at CAA did too little to stop the Phoenix Joker film, and being steamed that they didn’t tell him about it soon enough, left the company and moved to rival WME. For their part, CAA quietly told THR that Leto had “burned through four different teams of agents at CAA and there was little love for the actor there.”
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Ouch. It’s rough out there for a 47-year-old Oscar winning actor/rock star.