Here at the Smack, weâ€™d have to say that heâ€™s the most iconic comic book villain of all time. The Joker just turned 75, by the way, having first appeared in Batman #1 back on April 25, 1940.
So happy birthday, you green-haired, crazy-eyed, psychopathic criminal, you!
As a straight-up birthday present to fans, Suicide Squad director David Ayer just tweeted out a clear look at the Joker as heâ€™s going to be portrayed by Jared Leto. Impossible as this may sound, Letoâ€™s Joker is as surprising today as Heath Ledgerâ€™s was when we first saw him.
I mean hereâ€™s Oscar-winning Leto (Dallas Buyers Club), now appearing as what one Internet pundit calls â€œa shady, skeezy guy in the corner of a rave, selling ecstasy to kids.â€ Frankly, we think itâ€™s a good look. The cosplay types at the next Comic Con are going to have a field day with the tats, thatâ€™s for sure. And the grill. Definitely the grill.
One thing we can count on is that the fans are always going to go into shock when a new version of a beloved character comes out, and that means comedy. One video making a lot of noise at the moment uses an About Schmidt clip to show how Jack Nicholson, who made a pretty fair Joker himself for director Tim Burton, takes the news.
Although the Joker had a pretty active life in comics, it wasnâ€™t until the 1960s Batman television series that he got turned into a celluloid character played by Cesar Romero. He wasnâ€™t scary at all, but he had a distinctive cackle that fans used to love.
Then came Nicholson in Burtonâ€™s 1989 Batman, a villain disfigured when he fell into a vat of chemicals during a fight with Michael Keatonâ€™s title character. Also possessed with a unique sense of style, Nicholsonâ€™s performance got him listed 45th on a list of the American Film Instituteâ€™s 50 greatest film villains of all time.
Heath Ledger, though, turned the Joker into an honest-to-God terrifying dude in director Christopher Nolanâ€™s The Dark Knight. The performance was highly acclaimed, and Ledger said he viewed the character as a â€œpsychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy.â€ He was brilliant.
Sadly, Ledgerâ€™s untimely death prevented him from returning in the role. This has opened the door for Leto to play him in 2016â€™s Suicide Squad (and maybe to flash a cameo in Batman v. Superman, which also comes out next year). Obviously, the filmmakers and studio have decided not to try to compete with Ledger and have gone in a completely different direction.