David Ayer confirms 'Suicide Squad' fan theory about Joker's controversial tattoo

Tom Beasley
Jared Leto as the Joker in 2016's 'Suicide Squad'. (Credit: DC/Warner Bros)

Suicide Squad director David Ayer has confirmed a fan theory about one of the tattoos sported by Jared Leto’s Joker in his 2016 movie.

Ayer also commented on how much footage of the character was left on the cutting room floor and his sympathy for Leto as a result.

The unusual look of Leto’s take on the Clown Prince of Crime was one of the most widely discussed elements of the film, notably including the tattoo of the word “damaged” on his forehead.

Read more: Ayer responds to Harley Quinn criticism

One fan, however, sent a message to Ayer on Twitter referring to the tattoo as “ingenious” — and Ayer agrees with his analysis of the motivation behind it.

The user wrote: “Joker got the tattoo because Batman damaged his smile in a failed attempt at revenge for killing Robin.

“All with the intent to antagonise and infuriate Batman simply by seeing his face.”

Ayer appeared to confirm that the explanation was his intended backstory for the character by replying simply with “exactly”.

Read more: Ayer on negative response to Netflix fantasy thriller Bright

The 52-year-old filmmaker later provided a defence of his movie’s portrayal of the character, saying he was inspired by the contemporary DC Comics world and that it’s “incredible” the film remains such a talking point.

He added: “My heart breaks for Jared — he did magnificent work. Most of it remains unseen.”

Leto’s portrayal of the Joker divided audiences and has become notorious for his Method acting, as well as the grotesque, in-character gifts he sent his co-stars.

It was rumoured in 2018 that Leto was set to play Joker again in a solo movie, though this seems to have faded away as Warner Bros focused its energies on Joaquin Phoenix’s ultimately Oscar-winning portrayal in Joker.

Read more: Why Joker did not appear in Birds of Prey

In November, Ayer shared a cryptic Instagram post that appeared to imply his vision was torn away from him during the making of Suicide Squad.

He wrote: “Movies are fragile. They are like dreams, haunting moments that run from your vision. They have their own logic and truth.”

Jared Leto and director David Ayer from the cast of 'Suicide Squad' in DC's 2016 Comic-Con booth. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for DC Entertainment)

Suicide Squad was critically panned on its original release in the summer of 2016, scoring a poor 27% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Read more: James Gunn picked The Suicide Squad over Superman

Despite an impressive $747m (£604m) at the global box office, Warner Bros decided to change course and hired James Gunn to helm a reboot of sorts with The Suicide Squad.

Ayer tweeted his support for Gunn’s involvement, stating he “cannot wait” to see the new movie.

The Suicide Squad is due to be released in August 2021.