If there’s one defining thing about the Joker, it’s his maniacal laugh. Now, the latest actor to play the Joker, Jared Leto, is talking about how he captured the signature laugh, and made it his own.
Throughout the press leading up to Suicide Squad, everyone was very tight lipped about Jared Leto’s Joker. A best guess is that Warner Bros. wants everyone to experience his Joker when the film hits theaters, as there’s a lot of pressure on Leto, since he’s following in the footsteps of the late Heath Ledger, who was the last actor to play the role. Not only did Ledger play the role extremely well, but his Joker became the definitive one and earned him an Academy Award.
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) May 9, 2016
So, now, as the cast gears up for the August film release, Leto is finally opening up on what it was like to embody the role, specifically the laugh. Leto told CNBC of how he worked out the laugh.
“I worked on the laugh walking around the streets of New York and Toronto, and I kinda would walk around the streets and see what laughs would get under people’s skin.”
He continued, and went on to explain that he got a rise out of scaring the locals. “You know when you hear someone laugh at a restaurant? It’s a little jarring. I tried them out. And I kind of got to a place where I would laugh and people are always turning around like, ‘Who is this creepy guy behind me?'”
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Co-star Jai Courtney spoke to MTV about Jared Leto’s process. “I don’t know how you measure that these days. I haven’t seen him, since we started working, out-of-character, let’s put it that way.”
He wasn’t the only co-star to note that they never officially met Leto while filming because he was always in character. Actor Will Smith, who plays Deadshot in Suicide Squad, detailed his experience working with Jared Leto. Back in October, Smith told Beats Radio 1 the following.
“I’ve never actually met Jared Leto. We worked together for 6 months and we’ve never exchanged a word outside of ‘Action!’ and ‘Cut!’ We’ve never said ‘Hello.'”
Smith continued, as follows.
“I’ve only ever spoken to him as Deadshot, and him as The Joker. I literally have not met him yet. So, the first time I see him will be ‘Hey, Jared. What’s up? How you doing? Nice to meet you.’ He was all in on the Joker.”
The most popular story that went around about the behind the scenes was how Leto took his role a step further by gifting every cast member in character. Every “special” gift was customized to represent the Joker’s relationship with their given character.
For example, for Deadshot, he gave actor Will Smith bullets, and for Margot Robbie, who plays Harley Quinn, he gave her a dead rat.
When the story made the rounds, Jared Leto said of the process, “I did a lot of things to create a dynamic to create an element of surprise, a spontaneity and to really break down any kind of walls that may be there. The Joker is somebody who doesn’t really respect things like personal space or boundaries.”
One cast member who wasn’t “amused” was Viola Davis, who jokingly said that if she would’ve received one of Leto’s special gifts it wouldn’t have gone down well.
“He gave very interesting gifts. I did not receive any personally, or else I would have got my husband — who was called ‘Headache Ball’ back in the day when he played football — and I would have said, ‘Take care of the Joker.'”
[Photo by Warner Bros.]