Jared Leto Becomes The Joker: Actor Talks About ‘Painful’ Process For ‘Suicide Squad’ Role

We haven’t heard a ton about Jared Leto’s Joker, but now for the first time, the Dallas Buyers Club actor is revealing the process he had to go through to become the Joker.

Leto portrayed the Joker in the upcoming Warner Bros. film Suicide Squad. The actor told Empire magazine that the process was “painful.” “There was definitely a period of…detachment. I took a pretty deep dive. But this was a unique opportunity and I couldn’t imagine doing it another way.”

Leto isn’t the first actor to take a painful dive into the psyche of the Joker. The late actor Heath Ledger isolated himself for weeks in order to prepare for the draining role. Of his preparation, Ledger told Empire back in 2007 that he kept a diary he used to prepare for the role.

“I sat around in a hotel room in London for about a month, locked myself away, formed a little diary and experimented with voices — it was important to try to find a somewhat iconic voice and laugh. I ended up landing more in the realm of a psychopath — someone with very little to no conscience towards his acts. He’s just an absolute sociopath, a cold-blooded, mass-murdering clown.”

Of his late son’s preparation, Kim Ledger said that he “pretty well locked himself in a hotel room for weeks. He galvanized the upcoming character. That was typical of Heath. He would do that. He liked to dive into his characters, but this time he really took it up a notch.”

As for Jared Leto, his co-stars said that he was so into the character of the Joker that they didn’t meet Jared Leto while shooting Suicide Squad. Instead, they met the psychotic clown that the actor embodied on set. Co-star Will Smith said of working with Leto that despite being on set with the actor for six months, the two never exchanged words or said hello to each other.

The big scoop on the Suicide Squad’s Joker came from a behind the scenes news bit. According to reports, Jared Leto sent everyone from the cast a little gift as the Joker. The actor decided to personalize each gift to every character. For instance, he gave Margot Robbie aka Harley Quinn a love letter and a black box with a rat inside of it. For Will Smith he gave bullets as a gift. Additionally, the actor sent a “disturbing” video to the cast as the Joker in full costume.

At the time, he apologized to his cast mates that he wouldn’t be on set as Jared because he was still fine-tuning his voice as the Joker. According to actor Adam Beach, who plays Slipknot in the film, Leto’s video blew everyone’s minds and got everyone into the spirit of filming, knowing from that moment on that things felt real.

It’s said that Leto’s joker is inspired by comic book scribe Grant Morrison. Morrison gave Leto some advice before he delved into the character. His advice was to play the Joker not in a typical manner. According to the comic book writer, Leto’s performance is reminiscent of rocker Marilyn Manson.

If anything, Leto’s Joker definitely has a very distinct look, with tattoos on his head, and a very flashy panache style that resembles Jack Nicholson’s Joker, rather than the grit of Heath Ledger’s. Fans were split on Leto’s look from the very beginning, but the views became even more mixed when his whole outfit was revealed.

Check out Jared’s Joker in the trailer for Suicide Squad.

[Photo by Warner Bros]

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