When Warner Bros. decided to make Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, they already had a Joker on the payroll — Jared Leto, who portrayed the Clown Prince of Crime in the DC movie Suicide Squad. There had been talk of a Leto Joker film, or maybe a Joker and Harley Quinn movie with he and Margot Robbie. Instead, Robbie’s Harley got spun off on her own in Birds of Prey, and the solo Joker film became Todd Phillips’ dark psychological study of a man on the edge. Leto remained on the outside looking in.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, he was not happy about that either, and reportedly took steps to try to squelch the film:

Leto’s frustration that Warner Bros. was moving ahead with the Phillips project was so great early on that he tried to throttle the rival Joker in its cradle. According to sources familiar with Leto’s behavior, when the Oscar-winning actor learned of the Phillips project, he not only complained bitterly to his agents at CAA, who also represent Phillips, but asked his music manager, Irving Azoff, to call the leader of Warners parent company (it’s unclear whether it was Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes or AT&T’s Randall Stephenson, depending on the timing). The idea was to get Warners to kill the Phillips film.

THR also notes that a source close to Leto “denies that the actor made this request.” So make of that what you will.

Even if THR’s story is entirely true, how can you blame Leto? When the dude got the job as the Joker, you can be sure he expected to do it for more than 10 minutes in a single film. No Oscar winner takes a role as small as Joker’s in Suicide Squad for fun; they do it because they expect more down the line.

Even if the studio claims they are still interested in making a Leto Joker movie, it seems highly unlikely they will release another film with another Joker any time soon. It would just confuse the audience — and it wouldn’t give the people who’ve flocked in droves to see Phoenix and Phillips’ version the sequel they want. Even if you think Leto’s Joker was ridiculous (and it was!), it’s easy to see why he might be upset.

Gallery — The Coolest Joker Easter Eggs and Movie References:

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