We’ve all heard the stories about Jared Leto’s approach to getting inside the head of The Joker for his role in Suicide Squad: walking around the streets of Toronto and practicing his laugh, or sending bizarre gifts to his costars that included a dead pig, a string of anal beads and a set of used condoms. But while the rest of the Suicide Squad cast – which includes Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje – may have been more than a little creeped out by Letos’ behavior, the actor himself was seemingly having the time of his life.
In a recent appearance on The Ellen Show, Leto spoke about how much he enjoyed donning the purple suit, green hair and chalk-white skin of the Clown Prince of Crime:
“I got the call and was invited to play The Joker, which was terrifying and exciting and an honor… It was really the most fun I’ve ever had on a film in my life; I had a blast. It was a real honor to get asked to play the part. These characters are so special to people and I have a lot of respect for that. It was a really great opportunity.”
When discussing his physical transformation for the role – which included cutting his hair and shaving his eyebrows – Leto referenced his Oscar-winning performance as a transgender HIV patient in Dallas Buyers Club by quipping:
“I think that I’m probably the only actor in Hollywood who has shaved their eyebrows and worn lipstick back-to-back in two films.”
Leto’s approach to portraying the iconic villain is somewhat reminiscent of Heath Ledger’s own research when he played the same character in The Dark Knight, with both actors going to great lengths to get inside the warped mind of The Joker and try to understand what makes him tick. While there are certain visual elements of Leto’s version that don’t quite work for me – sorry, but I hate the chrome-plated smile – his talent as a performer is undeniable, and I fully expect him to steal the show when Suicide Squad hits theaters on August 5.
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