Critics of Todd Phillips’ dark origin story have been loud and proud about their distaste for the film, but perhaps no one was more upset than Leto, who had designs on playing the character in future films after his underwhelming turn as the supervillain in 2016′s “Suicide Squad.”
In a Hollywood Reporter piece published on Saturday, sources “familiar with Leto’s behaviour” claim that he felt blindsided when Warner Bros. green lit a standalone Joker story. After bringing complaints to his agents at CAA, which also represents Phillips, Leto reportedly attempted to kill the film in its infancy by asking his music manager, Irving Azoff, to reach out to one of Warner Bros.′ parent companies.
The Oscar winner has denied the allegations that he interfered with the film’s development, while Azoff has yet to comment, as the two are no longer working together. HuffPost has reached out to Leto’s representatives.
Leto had planned to play the Joker for years to come with the hopes of starring in his own standalone film and reportedly felt “alienated and upset by the move,” according to a separate Hollywood Reporter article.
In a 2017 interview, the actor addressed his murky future with the character, admitting that he was a “little confused” when the new film was announced.
“There are a couple of things happening in the DC world,” he said of the studio’s upcoming slate. “It’s a big universe and, you know, when you play the Joker, there’s no ownership there. You know you just have the honor of holding the baton for a little while and then passing it off. But there are other films in development and I’m excited to see what comes from them.”
As recently as June 2018, reports circulated that Leto was indeed set to star in his own film, expanding the “Suicide Squad” universe. But plans for Leto to reprise the role now seem to be on hold indefinitely, while his one-time co-star Margot Robbie will appear in her own “Suicide Squad” spinoff, “Birds of Prey,” which comes out in February.
“The Joker,” which was released earlier this month, has been a massive success at the box office with a worldwide gross of $735 million, generating serious Oscar buzz for Phoenix.
The film, which cost only $55 million to make, could becoming the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time, unseating “Deadpool 2,” if it continues to build on its momentum.