Viola Davis isn’t exactly someone who you want to rub the wrong way. We’re learning a lot of gems about the Suicide Squad cast over the last few months ahead of its August release. The most amusing tidbit to come out of this pre-press bonanza is that Davis almost pepper-sprayed the heck out of co-star Jared Leto on the set of Suicide Squad.
For those who aren’t familiar, Jared Leto fancies himself as a bit of a method actor. He gained a ton of weight to play John Lennon’s killer, Mark David Chapman, in the film Chapter 27. He gained an estimated 67 pounds, and did that by microwaving pints of ice cream and drinking them straight with soy sauce and olive oil. Six years later, he went in the opposite direction by losing a ton of weight to portray AIDS patient Rayon for the film Dallas Buyers Club, which he won an Academy Award for.
That said, Suicide Squad was a whole different animal. Most co-stars of the DC film have already documented how they didn’t meet Leto at all while filming because he was in character and was only addressed as the Joker while on set. Then, we started hearing bits and pieces about Leto’s behavior while everyone was shooting.
— JustJared.com (@JustJared) June 23, 2016
One of the infamous stories was the gifts that Leto gave his cast mates after shooting had wrapped. Leto gave all of his colleagues “gifts” that the Joker would give their character. For instance, he gave Will Smith, who plays Deadshot, a round of bullets. For Margot Robbie, who plays Harley Quinn, Leto gave a dead rat. Other gifts included used condoms, anal beads, a dead pig, and porno magazines.
Now that Leto is finished filming Suicide Squad, he recently explained to E! News the atmosphere he wanted to cultivate.
“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.”
Viola Davis’s character Amanda Waller isn’t exactly an “unhinged villain” in the film, so when she heard about the gifts Leto sent, particularly the bullets, Davis had to hold herself back from pepper-spraying the actor.
The actress told E! News, “It was a little worrisome. It made you a little bit nervous and I’m pretty tough. You know I got into a few fights when I was growing up… but it scared me a little bit.”
“There is but one degree of commitment…..TOTAL!” Happy 13 yrs of marriage my love, my friend, my rock!!! Love you pic.twitter.com/O2VJEpbndd
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) June 23, 2016
Davis continued, “Before that I was only introduced to The Joker…and I almost had my pepper spray out. You know, ‘You remember that bullet you sent me?’ It got so crazy that there were times during filming that I had heart palpitations—not only heart palpitations but at one point I said, ‘Did I suffer from hearing loss?'”
The actress said that she didn’t receive any of Leto’s gifts, and if she did, she would’ve had to get her husband involved.
“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.'”
Davis is, of course, not the only person who questions Leto’s method acting. Writer Danny Bowes wrote on Film School Rejects that he wasn’t a fan of Leto’s method antics and even questioned if a lawsuit should be brought to the table.
“The report that Jared Leto sent his Suicide Squad cast mates used condoms was both gross — a case could be made that it constitutes sexual assault — and the nadir of misunderstanding about what Method acting is and how it should be undertaken.”
[Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images]