By now every fan of comic book movies or seriously questionable method acting has heard the tale of the terror that was Jared Leto on the set of Suicide Squad. Not happy to terrorize his co-stars when the cameras were rolling (or insist that they refer to him by his character’s name), the Oscar winner took it upon himself to deliver crude, disgusting, or just plain weird gifts to the rest of the cast – dividing movie fans in the process.
For some (including the rest of the movie’s cast) is was a sign of just how committed to his craft Leto truly was, embracing the off-kilter psyche of the most twisted villain comics ever produced. While others felt that it showed once and for all how method acting – sorry, ‘method acting’ – had been completely bastardized, and twisted by self-important prima donnas looking for an excuse to lash out for the sake of their ‘art.’ It turns out the truth is… not nearly as exciting.
We say ‘the truth’ because we actually got the chance to ask Leto’s co-star whether the then-much-tamer rumors about his on and off set antics were true. While visiting the set after fans had gotten their very first (and very brief) look at Suicide Squad’s Joker, we didn’t witness Leto in action. But we did get the chance to speak with Margot Robbie, the yin to his yang in the film – or, as director David Ayer puts it, "the knife to his fork."
She offered a less shocking version of events, claiming that Leto was very much ‘in character’ during production, but never stopped being an Oscar-caliber scene partner:
“Yeah, he’s kind of terrifying. He’s really lovely though. He’s like, very conscientious on set. He’s not completely lost in the character that he’s, you know, violent or anything. Between every take he asks if I’m okay, blah blah blah, you know. So when I first heard that he was method and we couldn’t refer to him as ‘Jared’ and things like that I started to get a bit panicky because I’m in an abusive relationship with the guy that thinks he’s this character, so I was like “God, am I going to get beaten up on set?” [laughs].
“But he’s really, really respectful and professional, and lovely. But it is so incredible to watch him work firsthand. Because it’s a really bizarre process. And kind of fascinating. It’s not a process that I think would work for me, but to see the way he does it and the way it clearly works for him is cool.”
As much as we hope to see some Suicide Squad behind-the-scenes featurettes or Blu-ray clips of Leto making sure he wasn't getting arried away in his growling, unsettling Joker voice, for now it’s nice to know that his by all accounts, incredible work could also be appreciated by his co-stars in the moment. Even if it does dispel a bit of the outrageous gossip surrounding the production.
Are you disappointed to hear that the mythic levels of method acting Leto was rumored to approach aren’t quite what they claimed to be? Or is it nice to know that he wasn’t completely lost in the role?
Suicide Squad is scheduled to arrive in theaters on August 5, 2016; Wonder Woman is slated for release on June 2, 2017; followed by 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.