According to The Hollywood Reporter writer Tatiana Siegel, Leto felt “alienated and upset” after Warner bosses Kevin Tsujihara and Toby Emmerich officially gave the Todd Phillips film a go back in August 2017.
Leto played Joker in the 2016 movie Suicide Squad, and though Siegel didn’t specify why the Oscar-winning actor felt that way after the Phoenix starrer was moved into development, many think that Leto might have felt threatened by the introduction of another Joker actor to the big screen.
In June 2018, ten months after Phoenix’s Joker movie was announced, news broke that Leto’s Joker was also getting his own standalone movie billed as Suicide Squad spin-off. But for some reason, that project and a Harley Quinn & Joker movie, which was supposed to reunite Let with his Suicide Squad co-star Margot Robbie, were removed from Warner Bros.’ current slate of upcoming DC movies. Leto’s Joker also appears to be absent in the upcoming Birds of Prey movie headlined by Robbie’s Harley Quinn.
Leto’s absence in upcoming DC Extended Universe films is probably due to his lackluster performance as Joker and his seemingly obnoxious behavior behind-the-scenes. Leto had reportedly gone “method” for his role in Suicide Squad, pulling disgusting pranks on his co-stars like sending everyone “dirty condoms and anal beads.” He also reportedly sent a dead pig to the first table read and avoided speaking to anyone out of character.
While Leto’s method acting didn’t seem to make a difference in his acting, it appeared to have made the life of everyone involved in making the movie harder.
The critically acclaimed Phoenix-led Joker, which opened in theaters on October 4th, has now grossed $281 million worldwide at the box office.