In a recent trailer for Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn says she and the Joker broke up. I don’t think this was intended to be symbolic of DC’s working relationship with actor/30 Seconds to Mars singer Jared Leto, but that reading does feel appropriate given that the Suicide Squad star is reportedly no longer playing Batman’s number one nemesis in any future movies.
News of this comes from The Hollywood Reporter, which reported that Leto isn’t happy with DC’s standalone Joker movie starring Joaquin Phoenix, with sources saying the actor felt “alienated and upset” by the film, even making attempts to get the project scrapped early in its development. According to those sources, Leto complained to his agents at CAA, who also represent Joker director Todd Phillips, and his music manager Irving Azoff to speak with higher-ups at Warner Bros. parent company about killing the killer clown’s origin movie before it could get off the ground.
These same sources said Leto won’t be reprising the Joker role in any future DC Extended Universe films. This might have been the case for awhile now, as the actor isn’t part of the cast of the upcoming Birds of Prey or the Suicide Squad sequel directed by James Gunn.
“How do you play the Joker you established following [Phoenix]? It kind of ends his Joker run,” the source told THR.
While Warner Bros. declined to comment on THR’s story, Suicide Squad director David Ayer did respond to comments that he was unhappy with Leto’s performance in the initial article, denying the source’s claims.
That is inaccurate information. Not my words or actions. https://t.co/1jBRB4Sqvp
— David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) October 20, 2019
Leto’s reported exit is the latest in a long string of stars leaving the DC Extended Universe, with Superman and Batman actors Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck having both stepped down from their roles since their last appearance in 2017’s Justice League. While this continuity hasn’t been completely abandoned, with Wonder Woman and Aquaman sequels both in the works, a new Batman film is in development and is set to star Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne and Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle.