‘Suicide Squad’ Update: Has Jared Leto Really Become The Joker?

Is Jared Leto playing The Joker, or has The Joker become Jared Leto? Recent gossip from the Suicide Squad set suggests the distinction is becoming harder to make.

They say some actors really get into their roles when they start a new project. It seems Jared Leto has done more than just taking on the physical appearance of his Suicide Squad character. Adam Beach, who plays Suicide Squad‘s Slipknot, recently revealed that Jared has been going around playing pranks on his fellow Suicide Squad co-stars and the pranks are very “Joker-like” in nature.

“He sent [co-star Margot Robbie] a nice love letter with a black box with a rat in it — a live rat,” Beach said. “It was beautiful. Then he sent bullets to Will [Smith] with a letter.”

The bullets are understandable. Will Smith does play Deadshot in the Suicide Squad film, after all. The live rat though? A fairly ominous gift, even if it is related to the plot of the Suicide Squad film. At least it was alive and (gulp) in one piece.

What became of the rat sent by Leto?

“I did adopt the rat for a week, at one point. It’s bounce from house to house,” Jai Courtney admitted, while promoting Terminator Genisys. “Do you know where the house is right now? The owner of that rat—The Joker gave to Harley Quinn—is now living with Guillermo del Toro.”

The whereabouts of that rat and presumably its well-being raised some interest, so Collider pursued the matter to satisfy the interested public and Guillermo del Toro confirmed that he has adopted the small rodent.

“The rat is living with us in Toronto and he, and his massive ballsack, provide the house with great cheer and joy! We have re-named him Venustiano.”

Back to Jared Leto’s unusual Suicide Squad gifts, the pranks did not end with the rat and bullets. In fact, Leto (or should we just start calling him The Joker now?) sent a gift for the entire Suicide Squad cast, one day when his presence on set was not required. The gift was a dead hog accompanied with a video message.

“Basically, what he said was, ‘Guys, I can’t be there but I want you to know I’m doing my work as hard as you guys’,” recalled Mr. Beach. “The video he showed is in character. It blew our minds away. Then we realized that day, this is real.”

Sure, this could all be just for show, gimmicks to build up anticipation of the Suicide Squad release, but it’s been reported that director David Ayer has hired a therapist for cast members as well. Possibly in response to The Joker’s gifts?

“We kind of have like a therapist on board if you fall off the wagon and really are villainous. There’s a friend of [Ayer’s] that’s very unique in making sure we have our ground,” Beach said. “Us actors explore very fine thin lines going to the dark side and he wants to make sure we finish a movie and don’t disappear somewhere and then don’t show up for work.”

Apparently, the Suicide Squad director fully supports Jared Leto letting The Joker consume him.

“David is all about realism, so if your character is tormented, he wants you to torment yourself. He wants the real thing…”

That certainly makes the Suicide Squad film seem that much more intriguing, but what happens when filming is over and The Joker is let loose on the public?

Suicide Squad is scheduled for an August 2016 release.

[Featured image: Jared Leto courtesy of DC Entertainment/Suicide Squad]