We are just days away from the release of DC’s highly anticipated “Suicide Squad,” which will show Jared Leto playing the Joker. No actor has taken on the role since Heath Ledger, who is said to have fallen so deep into the character he lost pieces of himself.
Leto was asked about picking up where the “The Dark Knight” actor, who died of an accidental overdose in 2008, left off during an interview with “Rolling Stone.” The former 30 Seconds to Mars frontman praised Ledger for his “impeccable” performance, adding that it was “one of the best” of all time. Leto, 44, told the publication that he would have had qualms about playing the Joker if Ledger was the only actor to ever do it but, given the many that came before him and the many that will likely come after, he felt it was appropriate. In fact, Ledger — along with Jack Nicholson, Mark Hamill and Michael Emerson, who also previously took on the role — showed Leto where not to go with his performance.
“I think had it only been portrayed by Heath and it was never a comic book, maybe I would have felt that would be inappropriate,” he said. “But I thought that given the history, it was OK. The good thing about other people having done this is that you know what direction not to head in.”
Although Leto was careful not to dive as deep into the Joker as Ledger, co-stars have said that he was exceptionally good at playing the bad guy. In April, while the film was still in production, E! News reported that Leto went to great lengths to freak out his fellow actors. He told the publication he did so to “break down any walls,” but some felt he crossed the line in certain ways. During CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Will Smith revealed that he and other members of the cast had been sent some rather disturbing packages that gave new meaning to the term “gag gift.” Leto reportedly sent Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who portrays Killer Croc in “Suicide Squad,” a dead pig. Leto is also said to have sent bullets and used condoms, among other things.
“He went full Joker,” Smith said. “He really set the tone. He wasn’t playing with it. He was dead serious as an actor. He was going in and he was 100 percent going into this character.”
Nearly one year ago Margot Robbie admitted that she was “petrified” of Leto. She told the NY Daily News in August 2015 that she once saw Leto out of makeup and was too frightened by his appearance to investigate further into who he was. Robbie said that once he completed his Joker transformation, however, she felt “more comfortable.”
“Suicide Squad” opens in theaters Friday, August 5.