Zack Snyder reveals that he cold-called Jared Leto about reprising his role as the Joker for a new scene in the director’s cut of Justice League.
Director Zack Snyder revealed that he cold-called actor Jared Leto to ask him to reprise his role as the Joker in the director’s cut of Justice League coming to HBO Max. Leto took on the role of the Batman villain for 2016’s Suicide Squad directed by David Ayer. In limited screentime, Leto divided fans with his performance. According to both Leto and Ayer however, the theatrical version did not do the actor justice. Leto’s Joker has yet to appear in another DC Extended Universe film and was replaced with a body double for 2020’s Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).
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That all changed when it was announced that the Joker would appear in Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League. Warner Bros. gave Snyder a reported budget of $70 million for editing, finishing special effects, and shooting additional photography. It was revealed that Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, and Ezra Miller were among those filming scenes for Snyder. The inclusion of Jared Leto’s Joker means he will join Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor and Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke as villains featured in the movie’s subplots.
Speaking to TheFilmJunkee, Zack Snyder explained how Jared Leto joined the project. Leto’s scenes as the Joker were not in the original script for Snyder’s Justice League but based on an idea the director had been toying with for years. He finally decided now was the time to shoot it and called Leto to gauge his interest:
I had this idea for a scene and I had a version of this scene that I had written maybe three years ago. Slightly different but very similar. But then, you know, for whatever reason..for a multitude of reasons I didn’t do it. Then I was talking to Debbie [Snyder], we were talking about it. I said ‘am I crazy? Or should I just call? Should I just cold-call [Leto]? It was a cool conversation because when I pitched him the idea…he hooked on to the ‘why’ of it. Because there’s a big ‘why’ to it. And literarlly he said to me, he goes ‘we’ll talk more.’ And I kept calling him, we talked over a while. And then he agreed to do it.
Snyder went on to explain that the Joker was never intended to appear in Justice League. The director had ideas for using Jared Leto in various scenes but never put any of them into his script. So while the Snyder Cut of the film will feature footage removed from the theatrical version, anything involving Jared Leto’s Joker will be among those based on new material.
Zack Snyder cold-calling Jared Leto is another example of the director’s passion for Justice League and his desire to have his full vision realized. Rather than simply be content with releasing his cut of the movie, Snyder is taking advantage of all the resources Warner Bros. has provided including financing additional photography. Leto answering the call and agreeing to join Justice League is also a positive sign. Despite backlash from fans and Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar-winning performance in Joker still fresh in audiences’ minds, Leto also wants another shot at the role.
Snyder’s admission that the scene is based on an idea he had three years ago could provide clues about its context. In another interview, Snyder described the Joker in Justice League as “road-weary” and that “some water has gone under the proverbial bridge” between the villain and Batman. This has led to speculation that Leto’s scene will be part of the Knightmare timeline introduced in 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Given how far back Snyder mapped out his version of the DCEU, it’s possible that his vision of the Joker in a post-apocalyptic world could be coming to Justice League.
More: Justice League Snyder Cut’s Joker Knightmare Easter Egg Explained
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- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)Release date: Dec 25, 2020
- The Suicide Squad (2021)Release date: Aug 06, 2021
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- Aquaman 2 (2022)Release date: Dec 16, 2022
- The Batman (2022)Release date: Mar 04, 2022
- DC Super Pets (2022)Release date: May 20, 2022
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