There have been numerous versions of the Joker throughout the years, varying wildly throughout the worlds of TV, film, comics and video games, but no matter how he's portrayed, the Clown Prince of Crime is always the most disturbing character of them all.
It takes a special kind of actor to put their own unique stamp on the Joker's legacy, so Jared Leto certainly had his work cut out for him when he joined the cast of DC's PG-13 rated Suicide Squad. But from what we've seen of him in the trailers and his on-set behavior, this could be the creepiest version of the Joker yet.
Jared Leto Took Things To The Next Level On Set
"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.”
Robbie's reaction may be a little strange considering that the Joker's persona is usually more scary than the actor playing him, but Leto's behaviour certainly sounds unnerving beyond what most people would be used to seeing on set.
Leto's Gifts Provoked A Strong Reaction
It wasn't just Leto's appearance that unnerved his fellow co-stars though. As most of us already know, Jared reportedly sent a number of disturbing gifts to his colleagues, including dead pigs, anal beads and used condoms. Many assumed that the gifts were part of a deliberately shocking promotional campaign that elicited strong reactions from fellow cast members and online fans alike.
Co-star Viola Davis revealed that she considered pepper spraying Leto at one point and some critics even discussed the possibility of suing Jared for sending used condoms to his colleagues, arguing that his actions could be potentially perceived as sexual assault.
While it's unlikely that Jared Leto will be imprisoned in the real life equivalent of Belle Reve any time soon, it's hard to ignore just how strange Leto's actions were on set, leading to wild speculation online regarding his motives. Up until now, Leto only had this to say to E! News about his performance behind the scenes:
"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."
However, in a more recent interview with Fox, Leto finally revealed the reasons behind his actions in far more depth, providing a legitimate explanation as well as further insight into his process.
So Why Did Leto Send Those Gifts?
Anal beads and pig carcasses may not be standard gifts for your colleagues, but Leto was keen to explore the intricacies of the Joker's psyche on set, revealing that:
"The Joker loves to play games, he loves to manipulate. and that was part of the reason to do that... when you do give a gift to someone, even in real life, you think about what to get them, you think about who that person is to you, what would they like... It immediately started to be really good homework for me."
For Leto, the process of selecting gifts for his fellow cast members became an acting exercise that provided deeper psychological insight into the Joker. It's impossible to choose a present for someone without analysing the history that you share with the receiver, thinking more about both their personality and your own.
For example, Leto decided to give Will Smith a briefcase of bullets which acted as both a message and a threat to his character Deadshot, reminding him of the Joker's intent and power as the King of the Gotham Underworld.
What About The Nice Presents That Leto Sent?
Articles up to now have focused solely on the disturbing gifts that Leto sent while working in character, but what many have overlooked is that Jared also gave out far less controversial presents, including cupcakes and even poems that he wrote for each member of the Squad.
Leto also revealed that some of the reports of gifts he sent were actually falsified, although when asked about the controversial used condoms, Jared wouldn't confirm or deny whether that particular rumor was true or not.
That's not the only rumor we haven't been able to disprove yet. There's still a number of questions hanging over Suicide Squad, including what will actually happen in the mid credits scene, whether Harley Quinn will betray the team for her puddin' or not and whether the Joker is even alive at all or solely exists in flashbacks.
Luckily, we won't have to wait long now until all is finally revealed when Suicide Squad hits theaters on August 5. We're sure they'll make a killing with the jokes alone.
Do you think Jared Leto will be the best Joker yet?