Jared Leto's "controversial" take on the classic DC supervillain and longtime Batman arch nemesis Joker has been one of the biggest talking points about the upcoming bag of gleeful madness that is Suicide Squad; and the hype train kept running all the way through production with cast and crew members alike stoking the flames on the subject of Leto's intense method acting.
Even now with production wrapped on the villainous extravaganza the buzz around the DCEU's new Joker persists. Viola Davis - who portrays Amanda Waller in Suicide Squad - gave an interview to Vanity Fair last month in which she discusses what it was like working with Leto:
"He did some bad things, Jared Leto did. He gave some really horrific gifts. He had a henchman who would come into the rehearsal room, and the henchman came in with a dead pig and plopped it on the table, and then he walked out. And that was our introduction into Jared Leto."
Leto's polarizing performance thus far has already been largely compared to the late Heath Ledger and other actors to take on the infamous role, such as Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson and the archetypal voice of the Joker, Mark Hamill.
But the interesting thing about Leto's Joker is the huge attention which has been focused upon his method acting. Long have tales been swapped of him scaring his co-stars with horrific gifts, feeding off the hype around Ledger's untimely death following his stint as the Joker.
Things came to a head recently when Suicide Squad director David Ayer and [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice](tag:711870) director Zack Snyder commented on his performance. While Ayer admitted to being freaked out by the actor constantly staying in character, he also described Leto as "something transcendent. He's scary."
But it was Snyder who really heaped it on, saying:
"The commitment to the role, you’re going to see that really shine through in a way that you’re not used to seeing actors in movies really go all the way with every little moment and every little breath… You’re going to get taken on a journey with Jared that I don’t know that everyone’s ready for but I think it will be amazing."
Leto hasn't really given many interviews about his version of the Joker, but his method acting was made even more evident during a Q&A ahead of the performance of his band 30 Seconds To Mars last year, when Leto let a bit of his character slip.
Someone in the audience wearing a Batman t-shirt asked a question, and Leto responded with "You’re really brave," before letting out a deranged laugh. He continued, "I can’t wait for you to see this - they’re going to lock me away in a box after this movie comes out."
But when TNT Brasil caught up with the man behind the face paint himself at the Oscars this past weekend, Leto assured them that - despite all the hype - he's still got his head on straight, and did in fact very much enjoy playing the role:
"I did interact [with the cast], but I did it through the eyes of the Joker - which is really fun. It was fun to play that game... It was interesting to take on this challenge. It was unlike anything I've ever done before."
Looks like we won't need to lock him up in that box just yet.
There's always been this kind of mystique around playing the Joker, largely fueled by the tragic circumstances surrounding Ledger's death, but at the end of the day it's just a role, and there doesn't always need to be anything more sinister than that.
Take a look at Mark Hamill, he's been playing the Joker for 24 years and is effortlessly cheerful about the whole thing despite others describing him as perfectly embodying the mindset of the clown prince. It seems that Leto is taking the same approach of attitude as he describes the experience as "really fun."
We're certainly excited to see what he and the rest of the cast have in store for us when Suicide Squad hits theaters this summer.