Jared Leto Breaks His Silence on Playing The Joker in ‘Suicide Squad’

     October 26, 2015

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Imagine for a moment that you are actor Jim Parrack, who plays Johnny Frost in David Ayer’s upcoming Suicide Squad adaptation. Frost may be The Joker’s henchman in the movie, but it was Parrack who fielded random calls throughout the day during the shoot, calls with orders to spray paint roses black or fill a backpack with nine inch nails, calls from Jared Leto in constant character as the infamous villain.

Now that the film has wrapped and the cast and crew are starting to prepare for their eventual publicity rounds before the movie’s August 5, 2016 debut, Leto has broken his silence on his time spent embodying The Joker. In an interview with Empire Magazine, which just revealed the Clown Prince of Crime in full costume, Leto talked at length about his process and shared his insight into the character.


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Image via David Ayer

As for what Leto actually had to say about playing The Joker in Suicide Squad (via CBM), before Empire could get anything out of Leto, he had to decide if he should even pick up the phone:

“I was just thinking that the Joker would probably just say, ‘Fuck you,’ and hang up.”

Since he obviously decided to put his Joker persona away at least for a little bit, Leto then went further into his descent into madness for the role:

“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. It was fun, playing those psychological games. But at the same time it was very painful, like giving birth out of my prick hole.”

Well that sounds awful, but it certainly gets the point across. Less painful ways of inhabiting the character of DC’s psycho killer included listening to 1920s gospel music and reading literature having to do with shamanism. It sounds as if Leto was attempting to give his Joker an archaic and esoteric sensibility:

“I always get the sense that The Joker may be much older than people think. It’s something different. If you don’t break rules, you’re not going to strike new ground. I think I’ll be cooling down for the rest of my life.”


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Image via Warner Bros.

While the real measure of Leto’s Joker is going to come down to his on-screen performance in the film, his costume certainly goes a long way towards making a visual statement. Suicide Squad producer described the look as being inspired by Mexican cartels, while describing the evolution of the character as follows:

“More social…a very successful and smart businessman besides being a sociopath.”

Ayer also commented on bringing the Joker to the big screen, the challenges inherent in that feat, and the power of the character:

“The Joker is the third rail of comic book movies. There’s a power to that character, and by some freaking miracle, through the incredible things Jared has done and the photography and all the other millions of things that went into it, we’ve cooked up something transcendent. He’s scary.”

Could Leto’s Joker be the best yet? We’ll leave that up to audiences to decide when Suicide Squad opens next August.


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Image via David Ayer

For more on Suicide Squad, check out some of our recent coverage at the links provided below:


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