This past week we learned about some of Jared Leto's "method acting" shenanigans during the filming of Suicide Squad. These included, but weren't limited to, gifting his co-stars with dead or alive animals, used condoms, anal beads, and who knows what else. We had previously heard about the rat he gave co-star Margot Robbie, and the dead pig he sent to the entire cast. These gifts are thought to have been preparation for his role as the Joker and/or to get into character and maintain the persona with his co-stars.
Did Anyone Manage To Escape Leto's Methods?
Leto's Suicide Squad co-star, Viola Davis, recently said that she did not receive any of the charming gifts while production was filming. Davis said this to E! News:
"I did not receive any personally or else I would have got my husband who was called the 'headache ball' back in the day when he played football. I would have said, 'Take care of the Joker.’”
Leto himself told E! News about his methods during filming:
"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."
That's all well and good, and Viola Davis might feel lucky she escaped the brunt of Leto's method acting, but the lengths he went to with his other co-stars have garnered some negative reactions — including some industry voices.
What Are People Saying About These 'Gifts'?
One example of backlash against Leto's method acting comes in the form of screenwriter Danny Bowes. He recently wrote an op-ed about Leto's methods and basically said that in any other industry, these "gifts" would have been handled as sexual assault. In his Medium article, he wrote:
The report that Jared Leto sent his Suicide Squad castmates 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.
In addition to Bowes, many people have taken to Twitter to express their opinions on the situation.
The general consensus indicates that people not only think Leto is a creep, but that it's a potential PR stunt by Warner Bros. to get more people talking about the movie. Given the overall negative reaction a lot of people have had to Leto's new appearance, it would make sense that this coming out is all a way to get people talking about the film. Obviously it's working, if that was the intention.
On the other hand, Bowes does have a point in saying that any other industry would have handled these happenings as sexual harassment. People get sued over a lot less than sending a used condom or dead animal to someone. But, it is also no secret that a lot of the sexual harassment in Hollywood typically goes unreported or is swept under the rug.
What Do His Co-Stars Have To Say About These Happenings?
Leto's Suicide Squad co-stars appear to be a bit more forgiving of his behavior than the general public. Will Smith has said that he was never officially introduced to Jared Leto and that he only ever saw the Joker, director David Ayer brought in a psychiatrist during filming as a resource for the cast and crew, and Harley Quinn actress Margot Robbie has stated that she was petrified of Leto during filming. Even with that, she told the New York Daily News that she appreciated his techniques because of the dynamic he created.
“What he’s doing with the character is so cool. At first it was kind of confronting (to be up close) but now I’m so used to it, I think if I ever saw him out of makeup now I would be really confused. Actually, I saw him out of makeup once and I was actually petrified of him. I was too scared to go up and didn’t know who that person was, and when he got back into his makeup I was far more comfortable.”
Will Smith, who was also gifted bullets by Leto, also told E! News:
"He went full Joker. He really set the tone. He wasn't playing with it. He was dead serious as an actor. He was going in and he was 100 percent going into this character."
Personally, I can see where both sides are coming from. It's interesting to see one side of the fence calling for Leto to be held accountable for these inappropriate actions, while the other side is applauding him for setting the tone for such a dark character. Understanding that Leto's co-stars treated it more like a game maybe shows the difference between the "real world" and Hollywood, and how situations are perceived. However, if it is a marketing strategy then it's a genius move on their part because it's working.