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Are You Wrong About Jared Leto's Joker? Feat. Rob Ayling (Living in Crime Alley)

Updated: Jul 22, 2021

(By Ben Wan)

Does Jared Leto’s Joker deserve the hate? We dive into it, with film director Rob Ayling of the Batman short Living in Crime Alley and our NEW OFFICIAL co-host, Zachary Jackson Brown. We do a quick interview with Rob on his film before we go into the career timeline of the Jared Leto Joker, the comic book influences that he draws from, and the fact vs. fiction of Leto’s method acting antics behind-the-scenes. CHAPTERS: 0:04 Matt Herring GoFund Me Bumper Please donate what you can to our friend and fan of the podcast Matt Herring, who is battling Stage 4 colon cancer. Click here for Matt Herring's GoFundMe 1:45 Sketch: “The Joker Wants To Get Tattoos” with Zack as The Joker, Andrew as Clayface, and Ben as Two-Face Zack’s Joker and Ben’s Two-Face are based off of the ones from Batman: The Animated Series, voiced by Mark Hamill and Richard Moll respectively, while Andrew’s Clayface is based off of Alan Tudyk’s from the Harley Quinn animated series 7:21 Episode Introduction and Special Superhero Stuff You Should Know News! You heard the news! Zachary Jackson Brown is now a co-host for Superhero Stuff You Should Know! Zack was initially a podcast fan who connected with us on Instagram and joined us in our discussion during the pandemic on Batman: Legacy, the sequel to Contagion. He would later return in our dives into the No Man’s Land arc, Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers’s Strange Apparitions and Dark Detective runs, the unmade Catwoman spin-off for Michelle Pfeiffer, and nearlly all of our Snyderverse episodes, starting with Batman V Superman. But you can check out Zack’s first episode with us in the video below:

Please make sure to congratulate Zack in the comments! This episode is the second installment in our SuperVillain Stuff You Should Know trilogy. The first being “Are You Wrong About Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor?”

9:13 Interview with Rob Ayling on Living in Crime Alley Here’s Rob’s film Living in Crime Alley:

The comic that Rob references, “Fatal Wish” is in Batman No. 430, which is available to read on DC Universe Infinite:

39:44 Our Opinions on Jared Leto’s Joker 53:20 The Original Joker Card & The Joker Card in the Snyderverse For a visual comparison, this is the original Joker card from Batman #1 (1940) from Bob Kane, Bill Finger, and Jerry Robinson.

And here’s the Joker card from the end of Zack Snyder’s Justice League:

57:20 The Leto Joker’s Origin: Ace Chemicals, plus The Mystery of Where Ace Chemicals Even Came From We discussed Alan Moore’s lunch with Tim Burton and the influence of The Killing Joke in our dive into Batman 89’s scripts.

1:01:10 A Death in the Family & The Origin of Joker’s Metal Teeth This episode references our “The Secret Origins of Ben Affleck’s Batman” ep where we covered the death of Robin more extensively.

We also referenced our previous episode on “Everything You DON’T Know About A Death in the Family”

Here’s the image of Barbara knocking out Joker’s teeth in Birds Of Prey #124 "Smile For The Birdie” written by Tony Bedard, pencils by Claude St. Aubin, and inks by John Floyd

You can compare the broken teeth to Leto’s here:

1:04:27 Thoughts on the Joker Having Tattoos 1:16:47 The Joker & Harley We previously covered Harley’s introduction in the comics in No Man’s Land in our two-part deep dive into the series:

The following panels, about the age difference between Joker and Harley, come from Detective Comics #737 “The Code” written by Bronwyn Taggart, Pencils by Tom Morgan, and Inks by David Roach:

1:24:24 How We Could’ve Gotten Joker in BvS We previously discussed Snyder’s original plans to introduce Joker in Batman v Superman in our Patreon episode on the Unused BvS Ideas, which you can check out here. 1:24:59 The Joker Actors Considered Before Jared Leto Below is concept art of Mark Strong as Joker for Suicide Squad. The artist is apparently Peter Mitchell Rubin.

This report in the trades indicates Ryan Gosling balked at having to sign for multiple films. 1:26:06 Break: No More Whoppers Promo, Barkbox promo, Patreon sketch “Batman Roasts Superboy’s Costume” with Ben as Superboy and Andrew as Batman, and Rob Ayling bumper This is a promo for another podcast in the Greenlit Podcast Network, No More Whoppers, which you can find here. Check out our link for Barkbox here. You can join our $5 Patreon here. 1:30:16 The Joker’s Visual Design- The Grill and Tattoos You can check out the featurette from the Suicide Squad Blu-ray below, featuring Jared Leto’s physical transformation into the role:

We talked about how Jared Leto’s eyebrows were potentially shaved off for this concept art where Joker’s eyebrows were “HAHAHA” tattoos:

Here is the full promo image of Jared Leto’s Joker that many fans, in denial, believed had Photoshopped tattoos to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the character:

David Ayer addressed the inspiration of drug lords on Instagram in this interview: “A lot of it has to do with creating a character with some kind of history and footprint in our world,” Ayer tells us. “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.” 1:34:55 The Joker’s Dragon Tattoo in All Star Batman and Robin & The Frank Miller Influence on Jared Leto’s Joker Here’s the cover of All Star Batman and Robin No. 8 by Jim Lee:

For comparison, here’s the statue of the Jared Leto Joker with the dragon tattoo on the back:

1:39:06 The Influence of Azzarello and Bermejo’s Joker on Leto’s Joker 1:41:47 Other Comic Book Influences on Jared Leto's Look 1:42:40 Jared Leto’s Method Acting & Research Michael Jai White discussed how Heath Ledger had a good time on The Dark Knight set here, contradicting popular belief that Ledger got “too deep'“ into the dark role. Leto discussed with his preparation and who he talked to when he researched for the role: “I did meet with people that were experts, doctors, psychiatrists that dealt with psychopaths and people who had committed horrendous crimes, and then I spent some time with those people themselves, people who have been institutionalized for great periods of time. I guess when you take on a role, any role, you become part detective, part writer, and for me that’s my favorite time of the entire process, the discovering, the uncovering, and the building of a character.” He also discussed studying shamanism and listening to 1920s gospel music here: "I always get the sense that The Joker may be much older than people think” We discussed the idea of Joker being older than we’d think in the episode “Is the Joker Supernatural?” featuring our friends at the Cryptid Campfire podcast:

Leto discussed how he worked on his laugh around Toronto and New York here. “I worked on the laugh walking around the streets of New York and Toronto, and I kinda would walk around the streets and see what laughs would get under people’s skin. You know when you hear someone laugh at a restaurant? It’s a little jarring. I tried them out. And I kind of got to a place where I would laugh and people are always turning around like, ‘Who is this creepy guy behind me?'” 1:45:48 Jared Leto’s Infamous Antics Viola Davis talked about how Jared Leto sent a dead pig to the cast of Suicide Squad here: Now I'm terrified as a person thinking 'Is he crazy?' but the second part was 'Oh shit! I got to have my stuff together.' You talk about commitment and then he sends Margot Robbie a black rat. It was still alive in a box. She screamed, and then she kept it. Davis also talked about her temptation to pepper spray Jared Leto when she met in person here: “I met him really for the first time because before that I was only introduced to the Joker. And there was a part of me that, you know, I almost had my pepper spray out.” The story of Margot Robbie’s rat, Venustiano, going to Guillermo Del Toro comes from here: “The rat is living with us in Toronto and he, and his massive ballsack, provide the house with great cheer and joy! We have re-named him Venustiano.” Along with this tragic obituary of Venustiano’s death: Venustiano, "Leto's rat", passed peacefully away today. Here he sits in his favorite bed, shaped like a pineapple. He was deeply loved. This report brought up the stories that Leto gave out used condoms as well as “sticky Playboy magazines” that he gave to Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. Leto himself, however, denied this to EW: “Most of it was total bullsh–. Like that I was giving used condoms to people, which was not true,” he says. “It doesn’t matter how loud you shout or hold up a sign with your pants off in Times Square — people will run the story that they want.” 1:50:08 Breakdown of the Deleted Scenes of Jared Leto in Suicide Squad Leto expressed his unhappiness with the cut scenes here: “Were there any that didn't get cut? I'm asking you, were there any that didn't get cut? There were so many scenes that got cut from the movie, I couldn't even start.” The Wall Street guy that Andrew is referring to is from this Vanity Fair interview with Chris Terrio. These guys were in charge because they controlled the money at the very top of the pyramid. They were making big decisions—not the film executives we’re talking about, but Wall Street guys. One guy, who I can only describe as the man who Central Casting sends you when you’re trying to cast Douchebag #1, pulled me aside and started telling me how to write Batman. I’m not naive. I know that if you don’t want to have any back-and-forth with the money people, then you should write poetry because you don’t need hundreds of millions of dollars. But something about the distribution of power at that time just seemed off to me. It was removing even the pretense that capital wasn’t calling the shots. The discussion on Marlon Brando wanting to be a “bagel” for Jor-El in Superman: The Movie comes from our coverage on the behind-the-scenes journey, starting with this episode:

David Ayer expressed his regrets about not getting to make Joker the main villain for Suicide Squad here. The concept art of the Joker in the Batmobile is here by Ed Natividad:

Here’s also the statue of the Leto Joker wearing his own Batsuit:

David Ayer confirmed that this was simply a toy concept and not an actual costume: This was only a toy concept. No wardrobe like this was created. We talked about how Common was originally the John Stewart Green Lantern in Justice League Mortal in our coverage here:

David Ayer brought up the darker version of how Joker’s scene with Monster T (Common) would have ended here: It’s a long scene and Joker intimidated him into killing himself. Here’s the deleted scene on the extended edition where Harlene hunts Joker down and Joker says that he’s not a person to be loved, but rather that he’s an idea, a state of mind:

The original alternate ending to Suicide Squad originally featured Joker emerging, burned, from the helicopter crash and taking over the detonator in the Suicide Squad’s heads so that he could get Harley back, as revealed in this leaked script page:

1:55:35 The Purple Lamborghini Music Video

Here’s the music video in question:

1:56:45 The Unmade Joker and Harley Movie Glenn Ficarra and John Requa were hired on to do a Joker and Harley spin-off movie. Ficarra shared in an interview: “It is great. The whole thing starts with Harley kidnapping Dr Phil. Played by Dr Phil hopefully. Because her and the Joker are having problems with their relationship.” 1:57:52 Who Played Joker in Birds of Prey? Jonny Goth played the Joker in Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey and opened up about it in this interview: "I knew a few people working on the film and they had heard they needed someone to be the Joker and thought it would be sick if I did it. They needed someone with similar hands to Leto’s Joker and someone who would fit the costumes so I just came in and turned out to be the same sizes and they gave me the part. We filmed about a month after." 1:59:40 Leto’s Joker in Zack Snyder’ Justice League & What He Ad-Libbed Below is the deleted scene, released by Zack Snyder himself, that features Jared Leto’s ad-libbed “We live in a society” line.

Zack Snyder opened up that the "infamous “We live in a society” line was an ad lib from Leto himself: "We went back and forth with it. And I'll give Jared credit for that little ad lib there, 'cause it was really, really beautiful." Leto also improvised the “Who’s gonna give you the reach around?” line: "Jared kind of threw that out and I said 'It seems in character. Jared was like, 'That's never going to be in the movie.' I was like, 'Oh, really.'" 2:02:20 Do We Feel Differently About Leto's Joker? 2:14:16 Closing: Fan Comments & Social Media Promotion As teased in the main episode, our Patreon ep will be a deeper dive into a unique aspect of Jared Leto’s Joker- his partnership with Batman:

In the Knightmare world, Batman must team up with Joker to stop Darkseid’s apocalypse. But how often have the Dark Knight and the Clown Prince of Crime actually teamed up? The answer: more often than you think! Ben dives into the history of the times that Batman and Joker formally put aside their differences and became a team, from working to clear Joker's name in the Bronze Age Brave and the Bold comics to forming the Justice League of ARKHAM against aliens to fighting together against evil Batmen from alternate Earths! You can join our $5 Patreon and check out the episode here. On a related note, you can also check out Ben’s pitch for a Batman-Joker team-up movie from 2018 here:

THANKS TO OUR GUEST: ROB AYLING Twitter: IG: Website: YouTube Channel: AND OUR NEW OFFICIAL CO-HOST, ZACHARY JACKSON BROWN (who also did the thumbnail art) IG: @zacharyjacksonbrownart Please record us a “bumper” saying “You’re listening to Superhero Stuff You Should Know” and send it over to Also to any animators- we’d love to see our sketches animated. Please include #SuperheroStuffYouShould Know IN the video Become a part of the Shasta Army on our Patreon page: SuperHouse on iTunes: Please leave us a review in iTunes! SuperHouse on Spotify: INSTAGRAM: @superherostuffpod TWITTER: FACEBOOK: Please join our Facebook group where you can interact with us and other fans! YOUTUBE: Please email us at: ANDREW’S CHANNEL/WEBSITE: IG: ThunderWolfDrew Twitter: ThunderWolfDrew YouTube: Website: BEN'S CHANNEL/WEBSITE: IG: BenWanWriter My Cat’s IG: AlfiePennyworthCat Earl E. Bird- upcoming children’s comic: YouTube: Website: SUPERHOUSE MERCH: Teepublic Threadless

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