Suicide Squad: Jared Leto and Margot Robbie Talk Joker Legacy & Research

While Suicide Squad's huge ensemble of characters will provide for an interesting dynamic and launch the stories of more villains than heroes in the DC Extended Universe, it is hard not to argue that two of the most talked-about characters in the line-up are the Joker (Jared Leto) and Harley Quinn; one of the most well-known villains in the history of DC comics, and his former sidekick-turned-vigilante, who now dominates the shelves of comic shops everywhere with multiple titles under her name.

IN an interview where the actors discuss what fans could expect from the upcoming film, Leto played coy about the Joker's origins - but teased something new and different. Meanwhile, Robbie expanded on the type of Harley we're going to see revving up the screen this summer, and how researching the effects of codependency helped her understand the fall of Dr. Harleen Quinzel (in more ways than one).

When speaking about the Joker with Coming Soon, Leto's focus relied almost entirely on the legacies of those who brought the character to life before him:

“Joker has been written about in pop culture for 75 years. I’m just the latest in the long list of people who have redefined and reinvented this character. The actors, the voice actors, the television series, the writers, the artists and the fans. People have taken the Joker and reinvented and redefined for 75 years. It is really special to be asked to do that.”

Suicide Squad reshoots - Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn

However, when it comes to Leto's take on the Clown Prince of Crime, he hinted at something new, and not an imitation:

“[We] walked in a completely new direction. I think we knew that we had to do that. It was important to do that. When the Joker has been done and done so well, it gives you a bit of an indication of where you shouldn’t go. There’s a bit of a map there. That’s the good part about it.”

Robbie, meanwhile, is already winning fans over with her depiction of a maddened Harley Quinn, still in the thick of her whirlwind one-sided romance with the Joker, and hints at Harley's origins have already been dropped in the Suicide Squad trailers. We will get to see Harley before she loses her mind, while treating the Joker as Dr. Harleen Quinzel, a psychiatrist. With that kind of background, Robbie's research on the character led her to studying the effects of poor mental health and abusive relationships:

I did a lot of research on mental illness and codependency ... I was trying to access a way in to understanding why she’s so in love with the Joker. I kind of decided that she’s codependent on him. Now that I’ve done the research, I realize that that’s more of an addiction than an illness … You see many sides of her. Sometimes she’s really funny. Sometimes she’s really mean. She just enjoys everything she does. Whether she’s doing something good or bad, she’ll have an equal amount of enjoyment out of it. She’s not always the most likable character.

Suicide Squad

Robbie and Leto are joined in Suicide Squad by a star-studded cast that includes Will Smith as Deadshot and Viola Davis as Amanda "The Wall" Waller. The film is written and directed by David Ayer, making this his first major film since 2014's Fury.

While the Joker's presence reigned eerie over Bruce Wayne in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, it seems as though Suicide Squad is going to delve directly into the Joker's motives, and set up what will likely be a long-running story between he and Harley Quinn. It could be interesting to see the breakdown of their relationship and how Harley eventually leaves the Joker (followed by, one might hope, the very recent beat-down she issued her former abuser in the comics) as a running sub-plot of the greater DCEU.

NEXT: David Ayer Talks Suicide Squad Reshoots

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is now playing in U.S. theaters. Suicide Squad will arrive on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on June 19, 2020.

Source: Coming Soon

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