'Suicide Squad': Don't Ignore the Importance of Tattoos, Says Director

There's a story to the Joker and Harley Quinn's body art, says David Ayer.
@DavidAyerMovies/Twitter

Ever since images of Jared Leto as the Joker in Suicide Squad appeared online last year, fandom has been split on what to make of the heavily-inked makeover for the iconic Batman arch-villain. To hear Squad director David Ayer talk about it, however, the tattoos are an important part of who this new Joker is.

"The tattoos tell a very specific story," Ayer told Yahoo! Movies UK. "And eventually people will decipher them and understand what’s going on, but obviously they’re contentious, any time you do something new it’s contentious. There’s very specific stories and Easter eggs in those tattoos. And even his teeth, there’s an entire story behind that, which is absolutely canon. It’s putting his history on his body. This Joker is a little more working class, who I believe could live in our world."

The director said that his inspiration for the character's new look came from "drug lords on Instagram. It’s a great way to understand the lifestyle of a villain."

The Joker isn't the only tattooed character in the movie, of course; Ayer said that Harley Quinn's tattoos are equally important as the Clown Prince of Crime's.

"She did these herself in prison," he explained of the ink displayed by Margot Robbie's character. "They’re stick and poke tattoos, prison-style tattoos, that you do when you don’t have a tattoo gun. She did them herself out of boredom and desperation … There’s I Heart Puddin’, a Joker face, a love heart … that’s obviously reflective of her time in prison."

Suddenly, the promotional push involving makeshift Harley's Tattoo Parlors makes more sense.

Suicide Squad is released Aug. 5.

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