Jared Leto Eyed to Play The Joker in WB’s ‘Suicide Squad’ (Exclusive)

The Oscar winner hasn’t settled on his follow-up to “Dallas Buyers Club” so he’s still available

Oscar winner Jared Leto is circling a key role in David Ayer‘s “Suicide Squad” that could prove to be The Joker, an individual familiar with the Warner Bros. project has told TheWrap.

Warner Bros. had no comment, while a representative for Leto did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tom Hardy, Will Smith and Margot Robbie are in various stages of discussions to star in “Suicide Squad,” which David Ayer is directing and Charles Roven is producing. Jesse Eisenberg is also expected to reprise his role as Superman’s mortal foe Lex Luthor, though no casting is confirmed at this time.

Ryan Gosling was initially sought to play The Joker but he was unwilling to sign a deal with options for multiple movies, according to one insider.

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Based on the DC Comic, “Suicide Squad” finds the government granting a group of supervillains a shot at redemption by sending them on a mission that will likely kill them all.

Leto won an Oscar earlier this year for his heartbreaking supporting performance in “Dallas Buyers Club” and while Hollywood has been eager to cast him, the actor hasn’t settled on a follow-up project, though he has certainly earned the right to be selective.

Leto and his representatives had previously expressed interest in Marvel’s “Doctor Strange,” though the studio was seeking a more established star to help introduce one of its lesser-known characters to audiences. That led Leto to Warner Bros., which has been eager to work with the gifted actor and 30 Seconds to Mars frontman.

Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his terrifying performance as The Joker in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight.” The Joker’s fate was left dangling in that film, though Nolan’s Batman trilogy is not expected to have any connection to WB’s shared DC Movie Universe.

While The Joker did not appear in Justin Marks’ original draft of the screenplay, Ayer is expected to rewrite the script and that revision is rumored to include The Joker. After all, the studio would be hard-pressed to ignore Batman’s arch-enemy. If Warners has no plans to include the character in some capacity in “Suicide Squad” or “Justice League,” what movie is it waiting for?

Keep in mind that the reliable comic book movie scoopers at Latino Review recently reported that Cara Delevingne is being sought to play Harley Quinn, and when that character is around, The Joker is usually nearby. Delevingne tweeted a picture of Harley Quinn several weeks before speculation first started.

Leto recently directed the documentary “Artifact” and insiders say he has been looking for the chance to direct a feature as well. It’s possible Leto may sign on to “Suicide Squad” to improve his global visibility and box office clout, which would help give him leverage to direct in the near-future.

Leto is represented by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.