'I Regret That Decision': Suicide Squad Director Reflects on Controversial Joker Tattoo

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Jared Leto Joker Suicide Squad

Seven years after Suicide Squad's release in theaters, director David Ayer shared one regret he has regarding Jared Leto's Joker.

2016's Suicide Squad introduced fans to a wildly unique take on the Joker played by Jared Leto that didn't sit well with many viewers, although there was plenty of his story with Harley Quinn that didn't make the final cut.

Ayer himself even noted that most of Leto's performance "was ripped out of the movie as Warner Bros. reworked the story behind-the-scenes, leaving many fans in the dark on what was actually meant to happen for the iconic Batman villain.

Suicide Squad Director's Regret for Joker

Suicide Squad director David Ayer shared on X (formerly known as Twitter) that he regrets the "Damaged" tattoo that was seen on Jared Leto's forehead as he played the movie's version of the Joker.

Jared Leto, Joker
Warner Bros.

Ayer took full responsibility for the tattoo, which he revealed was originally supposed to read "Blessed" instead of "Damaged:"

"I own the tattoo idea 100% 

It was my choice. Original idea is it would say 'Blessed' and not 'Damaged' 

Now having said that — I regret that decision. It created acrimony and division. 

Not every idea is a good idea. 

And I’ll just be in the corner here while the internet slaps me around for this post."

Ayer also previously shared a photo of test footage for Leto's Joker on his Instagram page, via Reddit, with the original tattoo that he wanted to use on Leto's forehead along with drawn on Joker-style lips around Leto's mouth.

Jared Leto test footage, Joker, Suicide Squad

This is the second time Ayer mentioned this regret over the Joker tattoo. In March 2023, he called it the one move he wished he hadn't made aesthetically:

"It’s the one aesthetic choice I wish I hadn’t made. Caught a lot of smoke for it obviously."

Will Ayer's Cut of Suicide Squad Ever Release?

Jared Leto's Joker was only one aspect of Suicide Squad for which fans had complaints, especially considering he only got about 10 minutes of screen time. Although it begs the question of whether that performance will ever be truly seen.

As fans are well aware by now, David Ayer has often discussed his own cut of Suicide Squad, in the same vein as Zack Snyder's Justice League from 2021.

Earlier this year, he even passionately defended his cut for fans on social media, making it clear that the changes made by Warner Bros. were far more than "a couple of scenes being added."

DC Studios co-CEO James Gunn even reportedly promised Ayer that he would get a chance to release that movie, although there is no timeline for when it could be made public for fans.

Suicide Squad is currently available to stream on Max.

- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.