The role of The Joker seems tailor made for method actors. Heath Ledger’s journey into darkness is the stuff of legends, and his production journal was a truly terrifying spectacle. Jack Nicholson once spoke of fooling folks into believing he doesn’t engage in method acting but admitted that’s his secret to all-encompassing performances. So, it comes as no surprise that Jared Leto, the crown prince of method acting clichés, signed onto Suicide Squad to chase the acting dragon as an Oscar followup.
Yet what we’ve heard about Leto’s Joker hasn’t simply painted a portrait of a dedicated artist. He’s not a method actor who quietly toils away before surprising all with magnificence — he’s marketing himself that way, and some folks find it a little odd. Let’s just say that many, including Martha Plimpton, are not impressed. Leto thinks his tricks were cool, but c’mon, man. Sending sticky magazines plus a rat and a hog to co-stars is, well, rude.
From the sound of things, he scared the crap out of Margot Robbie and sent director David Robbie onto the therapy couch. What else did Leto do to make his Joker great? Leto tells Entertainment Weekly about his sprint off the sanity ledge:
“There are a lot of things. It’s probably better to not get into it but to the Joker, violence is a symphony. This is someone who gets an extreme reward from the act of violence and manipulation. Those are the songs he sings and he is very in tune with what makes people tick. I did meet with people that were experts, doctors, psychiatrists that dealt with psychopaths and people who had committed horrendous crimes, and then I spent some time with those people themselves, people who have been institutionalized for great periods of time. I guess when you take on a role, any role, you become part detective, part writer, and for me that’s my favorite time of the entire process, the discovering, the uncovering, and the building of a character. Yeah, it’s really fun.”
No wonder Leto think he should be tossed into a box after this movie arrives in theaters. He’s practically etched craziness into his soul. Hanging out with psychopaths does sound like “fun,” does it not? Not really, but Leto has more to say about his transcendent Joker:
“He became a real person. I don’t know if person is the right word. I think the Joker lives in between reality and another plane. Kind of a shaman in a way. It’s a very intoxicating role to take on … [W]hen people have done it in the past, there is some spirit of the Joker essence that they keep, but they either build upon something or tear something down and start again at the beginning. I had to throw everything away and start from the beginning and really build this from the ground up. It was a transformative process. There was a physical transformation. There was a physical conditioning.”
God, it all sounds so exhausting, doesn’t it? Not to mention bizarre and slightly unsettling to see a self-involved approach to an iconic villain who is beloved by many, but Leto is in charge here. One can’t help but be curious for what August 5 brings.
(Via Entertainment Weekly)