This past March, Warner Bros first major leap into their connected DC Comics’ universe with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, did not stick the landing that the studio was hoping for. WB made a huge investment in a slate of superhero films which will be released at a rate of at least two movies a year. The next film in the lineup after Dawn of Justice is the eagerly anticipated adaptation of the Suicide Squad. The movie is written and directed by David Ayer (Fury) and follows the story of a group of convicts and villains, primarily from Batman’s world, who agree to go on government sponsored “suicide missions,” in exchange for clemency. There are many reasons that people are excited for the movie, none are bigger or more anticipated, than the debut of the live-action Harley Quinn and the brand new portrayal of the Joker.
The Joke’s On You
Jared Leto and Margot Robbie were both recently interviewed by Coming Soon about their portrayals of the Joker and Harley Quinn in the upcoming Suicide Squad. When asked whether we would see the origin of the Joker in the new movie, Leto had this to say:
“I don’t think I’m allowed to talk about that so much. But we walked in a completely new direction. I think we knew that we had to do that. It was important to do that. When the Joker has been done and done so well, it gives you a bit of an indication of where you shouldn’t go. There’s a bit of a map there. That’s the good part about it.”
He also went on to add:
“It’s quite an honor. Joker has been written about in pop culture for 75 years. I’m just the latest in the long list of people who have redefined and reinvented this character. The actors, the voice actors, the television series, the writers, the artists and the fans. People have taken the Joker and reinvented and redefined for 75 years. It is really special to be asked to do that.”
It may feel like ancient history now, but when the first image of Heath Ledger’s Joker for The Dark Knight was revealed, the uproar was far greater than the first look at Leto last year. Up until that point, there were only Jack Nicholson and Cesar Romero’s campy and manic interpretations of the character, so seeing Ledger’s grim and joyless face sent off fanboy’s alarms across the world. However, once the movie was released, there was context for his performance and it resulted in an Academy Award.
Leto is faced with the challenge of once again redefining the villain for a new generation. His comments shed light on the decisions that he and Ayer made to craft a Joker that was seemingly influenced by prison culture. Complete with a shiny grill and an assortment of tattoos. Judging from his comments, we can expect to see a lot more unexpected moments that will help to reshape this new incarnation.
Dr. Harley Quinn
Margot Robbie is on the edge of becoming a full-fledged superstar, with a series of roles in The Wolf of Wall Street, Focus, and the upcoming adaptation of The Legend of Tarzan. She seems to have all the tools necessary to bring the iconic character to life. However, she and Ayer will have to walk a difficult line in realizing the anti-hero. Robbie explains:
“I did a lot of research on mental illness and codependency. I was trying to access a way into understanding why she’s so in love with the Joker. I kind of decided that she’s codependent on him. Now that I’ve done the research, I realize that that’s more of an addiction than an illness… You see many sides of her. Sometimes she’s really funny. Sometimes she’s really mean. She just enjoys everything she does. Whether she’s doing something good or bad, she’ll have an equal amount of enjoyment out of it. She’s not always the most likable character.”
Harley Quinn was created in the early 1990’s, not in the pages of Batman comic books, but on the classic TV show, Batman: The Animated Series. Dr. Harleen Quinzell was a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum tasked with evaluating and treating the mentally ill Joker. However, the doctor fell in love with her patient, which tragically led her down a path of crime and to her new villainous identity as Harley Quinn.
Quinn’s unhealthy relationship with the Joker is one of her most defining traits, however that comes to a head when the character is on the precipice of becoming an anti-hero and pop cultural icon. How she is portrayed in Suicide Squad will be both a huge draw for the film and inevitably a source of controversy, since the character and her relationship are deeply flawed.
It does sound that the creative team behind Suicide Squad seem to know what makes Harley tick. Robbie’s quote shows that there has been a lot of research and consideration behind the character’s motivations, which should hopefully lead to a more fully realized performance. Luckily, we have less than four months to find out.
Suicide Squad opens on August 5th, 2016.
Source: Coming Soon