The self-proclaimed Clown Prince of Crime has been given nearly as many on-screen incarnations as his darkly cowled opposite. When Jared Leto was announced as the next man to don the green hair and red smile, there was public outcry comparable to that of when, arguably, everyone’s favorite live-action Joker, Heath Ledger, was cast. Public outrage aside, Leto recognized the massive shoes he was to fill and took the responsibility graciously. Instead of imitating those before him, he chose to approach the role the way a stage actor would Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

“You just knew you had to do something different,” the Oscar-winner noted to Entertainment Weekly. “You had to make it your own. That happens all the time. Whether you’re a composer working on a piece of music that was written a century ago, or you’re an actor on stage, reinterpreting a play, it’s very common these days. Directors take on great works of cinema, actors reinterpret roles, that’s been going on for a great deal of time. From Scarface to Hamlet. In some ways it’s really interesting to reinterpret, redefine.”


Jared Leto Joker


And redefine he did. Under the relatively fresh exterior, fans can only hope they’re favorite maniac still resides within. In trailers for the new Joker’s debut in Suicide Squad, he definitely maintains the crazy. It’ll be interesting to see what else the award-winning method actor does to reinvent a character who surely still has some newness left in him.


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Other than the aforementioned Suicide Squad, which hits theaters August 5, the Clown has a huge year ahead of him. At DC’s Rebirth event last week, it was announced that come May 25 in Justice League #50, the Joker’s identity would finally be revealed. On the animated front, Alan Moore’s beloved The Killing Joke is set to have an animated film adaption released this year; you can see the first image here.


Images: Warner Bros.