Jared Leto is known for committing to his performances, but he doubled down on his efforts for his turn as the Joker in Suicide Squad. Rumors that he never broke character during filming have long been circulating, but viewers have since learned even more details about how fully Leto committed to the role.
Here are five crazy things that Leto did, all in the name of transforming into the iconic DC villain.
1. He stayed in character throughout filming
Leto’s co-stars have confirmed that the actor never broke character during his time on set. In fact, Will Smith insists he has yet to meet the real Leto. “[Suicide Squad] is insane. I’ve never actually met Jared Leto. We worked together for six months and we’ve never exchanged a word outside of ‘Action!’ and ‘Cut!’” he told Apple Beats 1 Radio station in October. “We’ve never said ‘Hello’ or ‘Good day.’ I’ve only ever spoken to him with me as Deadshot and him as The Joker. I literally have not met him yet. So, the first time I see him will be ‘Hey, Jared. What’s up?’ Not a single word exchanged off-camera. He was all in on the Joker.”
Co-star Jai Courtney has also previously backed those claims, stating, “I haven’t seen [Leto], since we started working, out-of-character, let’s put it that way.”
Perhaps his commitment shouldn’t come as a big surprise, given his inspiration for the role. Director David Ayer said recently told Yahoo that Leto’s methods resulted from a carefully constructed inspired by — of all things — drug lords on Instagram. “A lot of it has to do with creating a character with some kind of history and footprint in our world,” he said. “And not have this sacrosanct being outside of our continuum, our reality. If a guy like him really existed today, where would he come from? How would he do business? Who would he know? What would he look like? In my mind, I took a lot of inspiration from drug lords on Instagram. It’s a great way to understand the lifestyle of a villain.”
2. He sent Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn a rat
Leto took his method acting to a new level when he sent some of his castmates creepy gifts ahead of the beginning of filming. In June, Adam Beach, who plays Slipknot in the action flick, told E! News that Leto “sent [Robbie] a nice love letter with a black box with a rat in it — a live rat.”
She wasn’t the only one to get a disturbing gift though. According to Beach, Leto also “sent bullets to Will [Smith] with a letter.'”
3. He also sent the rest of the cast a dead pig
As if the gifts to Robbie and Smith weren’t enough, Leto decided to give the whole cast a message by sending them the carcass of a dead hog, along with a video message. As Beach explained to E!, Leto wasn’t able to be there at the very beginning of filming, but he wanted to make sure his co-stars knew he was taking his character very seriously.
“Basically, what he said was, ‘Guys, I can’t be there but I want you to know I’m doing my work as hard as you guys,'” Beach explained. “The video he showed is in character. It blew our minds away. Then we realized that day, this is real.”
And it turns out that a dead pig may not have even been Jared Leto’s strangest gift to his castmates. As the actor recently told EW, he also sent them anal beads and used condoms.
4. He scared co-star Scott Eastwood
Eastwood has admitted that he was too afraid to approach Leto while on set.
“I was sort of afraid to approach him because I didn’t want to mess with his thing going on,” Eastwood told E! News in June. “But I knew him before. I met him before he was The Joker. I just met him as Jared Leto. So I didn’t know if I wanted to mess up his thing.”
5. He even freaked out director David Ayer
“Big time,” Ayer told USA Today when asked if he ever got creeped out by Leto’s Joker. “The hairs stand up on the back of your neck. If you’re a Batman fan, you have to love/hate the Joker because he’s the best nemesis ever. Just to have him on one of my film sets, it was a very memorable thing for me.”
Ayer recently discussed Leto’s behavior further, telling Yahoo, “He constantly has to give birth to himself, he goes away, he comes back, he shoots, he goes away… The Joker is something you have to be, and you can see how exhausting and painful it is for him to be this character. But you can feel it when he comes to work, the crew feels it, everyone feels it. It’s like the birds stop flying. He’s f***ing terrifying.”
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