Mr. J is on his way.
The upcoming Suicide Squad film will feature appearances from DC Comics‘ most beloved villains as well as many that will be new to audiences. The most anticipated however, will be “The Joker” as played by Oscar-Award winner Jared Leto. While the late Heath Leger‘s portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime in 2008’s The Dark Knight is still for many, the best on-screen interpretation (sorry Jack Nicholson and Cesar Romero), directors David Ayer of Suicide Squad and Zack Snyder of Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice may have a different stance according to their interview with USA Today.
“This iteration of him, people will realize there really is a continuity of history — there is a lot of respect for what the Joker represents, who he is as a character. He is the best known villain in fiction so there’s an incredible responsibility there to also be faithful to what he is but at the same time push him into this next world, next time, next phase.”
Leto notably went the route of method acting for the role, immersing himself in the character 24/7 while on set, regardless of if cameras are rolling or not. It was reported that he even gifted Margot Robbie, who plays Joker’s on and off love interest “Harley Quinn” in the film, with a live rat behind the scenes, and the rest of the Squad with a live pig full of bullets. “People kept their distance [from him],” Ayer recalled. His presence even managed to scare Ayer himself, “Big time. The hairs stand up on the back of your neck.”
Leto’s behind-the-scene antics weren’t just for the sake of it. Ayer suggests there is a “method” to his madness.
“I love helping actors find what methodology works best for them. It’s like tailoring a suit — it’s not one size fits all. But it really made an event when he would show up on set. There was almost a pageantry to him, which did translate into the character and the power on screen he has.”
Snyder, who was never on set with Leto, as busy with all things Batman V. Superman heard many of the stories from on set. “I was very much looped in on the crazy stuff happening with that,” he said. He also weighed in on Leto’s performance:
“The commitment to the role, you’re going to see that really shine through in a way that you’re not used to seeing actors in movies really go all the way with (in) every little moment and every little breath,” Snyder says. “You’re going to get taken on a journey with Jared that I don’t know that everyone’s ready for but I think it will be amazing.”
Suicide Squad hits theaters Aug. 5