The stories of Jared Leto’s overcommitment to staying in character as the Joker in Suicide Squad are already infamous. Yet whether or not it actually pays off when audiences see the results in a month, Leto already considers the Joker the “role of a lifetime.”
Leto shared this with Deadline Hollywood, calling it “an incredible honor to be asked to play the part.” While there have already been 75 years of different Jokers in comics, movies and television, Leto promises that the Joker’s latest movie is “something completely different than other movies in the genre.”
This is already a Joker that looks different than Heath Ledger’s or any before on screen, with tattoos, silver teeth, no facial scars, and a love interest in Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn who is practically a victim of Stockholm Syndrome and worse. Leto’s extremes to playing such a different Joker on set has included antics like giving used condoms, pet rats and other such disturbing gifts to the cast, leaving aside that Ledger didn’t need such a demented mind set to submerge into the Joker.
Viola Davis was particularly unnerved by Leto’s stunts, telling E! News that it was “a little worrisome” when Leto gave a box of bullets to her as a ‘gift’ while in character. To her, she only met the real Leto for the first time at a Glamour Magazine event after filming, and admitted that “I almost had my pepper spray out.”
There were still moments in the last year when Leto wasn’t consumed by the Joker, as he cleaned up beforehand to host the AOL interview series Beyond the Horizon, which even included interviews with the likes of Al Gore and Edward Snowden. He is prepping for another season now, as it will likely premiere well after wider audiences see a much more demented side of him than the one that can talk like a sane person to important figures.
Leto was coy on whether he would appear at Suicide Squad’s San Diego Comic-Con panel two weeks before the movie premieres. However, his Joker side will be seen with the Squad and likely against it in theaters on Aug. 5.