The War Of The Jokers No Laughing Matter For Jared Leto

A new report claims Jared Leto was devastated after Warner Bros. greenlit the recent 'Joker' starring Joaquin Phoenix and wanted the film canned.

The Phoenix vehicle, written and directed by Todd Phillips, was a departure from Warner's original version of the character that appeared in the 2016 critical flop 'Suicide Squad' which was played by Leto.

The dark reimagining of the Joker's origins as a socially inept, downtrodden man played by Phoenix has slapped a smile on the box office, looking to gross more than $700 million worldwide, and with an estimated budget of $55 million -- the only person not laughing appears to be Leto.

According to 'The Hollywood Reporter', the actor was so incensed at the idea that Warner had decided to take the 'Batman' villain in such a different direction, especially after there had been talks of Leto's iteration of the character getting his own spin-off or standalone film.

Jared Leto wasn't smiling after his take on the Joker has been panned. Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures.

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While Leto's reps claim the reports that he had attempted to squash the Phillips project are false, it looks like his time as the crowned prince of crime has been completely shuttered, with all future DC projects at Warner either omitting Leto's Joker, or potentially re-casting.

There are also claims that Warner was unhappy with Leto's "method" acting and conduct on set which included sending his 'Suicide Squad' castmates a series of escalating and often inappropriate gifts.

Leto reportedly sent Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Academy Award winner Viola Davis and the rest of his cast items like rats, bullets, a dead pig, anal beads, used condoms, sticky pornographic magazines and love letters.

At the time Leto told E! that he "did a lot of things to create a dynamic to create an element of surprise, a spontaneity and to really break down any kind of walls that may be there".

"The Joker is somebody who doesn't really respect things like personal space or boundaries," Leto continued.

Sadly, Warner Bros. does like boundaries, and it seems that Leto has been edged out of future plans for the Joker. The upcoming 'Birds of Prey', which sees Margot Robbie reprise her role as Harley Quinn, has a large focus on a quite literal break-up with Leto and his take on the Joker.

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Similarly, the director of 'Suicide Squad 2', James Gunn responded to a fan during a Q&A that he didn't think it "would be strange" for the Joker to not appear in his film, "as he isn't a part of the Suicide Squad in the comics".

While he didn't confirm if that meant the Joker would definitely not appear in the film, 'THR' quoted one source as saying Phoenix's highly praised performance "kind of ends" any chance of Leto's version making a comeback.

Featured image: Getty Images.