We’re less than a month away from David Ayer’s Suicide Squad hitting theaters stateside, and the pressure is on for Warner Bros. to deliver after the response to Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice - though the studio also needs to deliver on how much the film has been talked about this summer. Although the role of The Joker (Jared Leto) had been a major mystery looming over the film since his inclusion was announced, more and more teasers and images have been released in recent weeks to give prospective moviegoers an idea of what’s to come when the film is released next month.
Leto’s version of The Joker figures to be unique in a number of ways, but that doesn’t mean Leto hasn’t had Jack Nicholson or the late Heath Ledger on his mind while covered in terrifying makeup.
EW talked to Leto about this very topic and the actor responded by speaking about what it takes to bring such an iconic character (one who has been played on screen before) to life:
“You’re kind of walking upon hallowed ground, and it deserves the very best that you can do. It takes over your life and that’s what I needed to do for myself.”
We’ve known for some time now that Leto has taken the role very seriously, and his latest comments only give more credence to those earlier assertions. Leto doesn’t mention Nicholson or Ledger by name in the story, but by using the phrase “hallowed ground," it’s fair to assume that’s what Leto is referring to. It’s also evident from Leto’s quotes that the role has taken over his life, and that getting this character right has been his primary focus.
The piece adds other tidbits about how Leto has gone above-and-beyond in his approach to staying in-character, as he sent less-than-pleasant items to his co-stars throughout the process. Ayer even told EW, “As an actor, he’s flinging himself into the abyss on that one.” The Suicide Squad director opened up about how creepy and terrifying Leto looked on set as well.
Although Leto’s Joker isn’t the centerpiece of the film, trying to figure out his role in the narrative has been one of the most interesting subplots to monitor in recent months because of the character’s iconic history. With how popular both Ledger and Nicholson’s iteration of the character are, Leto seems to be keenly aware of how critical his portrayal is going to be not only for his future but Warner Bros., too. There seems to be a lot riding on Leto’s portrayal, but he’s saying all the right things right now.
It’s still too early to say whether or not Leto will measure up to Ledger and Nicholson, but it’s nice – and creepy – to see he’s taking the role very seriously.
Suicide Squad opens in U.S. theaters on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League on November 17, 2017; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020. The Flash is currently without a release date.