One theme that seems to show up in Suicide Squad is tattoos, whether it’s the many tattoos the Joker has, the tattoo-style character logos seen in promo posters and magazine covers, or the promotional tattoos given out at SXSW, which unfortunately weren’t inked by expert tattoist Margot Robbie (even if she occasionally misspells them). In a very extensive interview with director David Ayer and several cast and crew members, Yahoo! learned quite a bit about Ayer’s intentions with this tatted-up iteration of the Joker, the Joker’s “working class” background, Jared Leto’s much-ballyhooed (and sometimes inappropriate) method acting, and how Ayer brought the “skwad” closer together in rehearsals by having them literally punch each other.
Yes, they punched each other in rehearsals. Ayer explains, “It wasn’t a normal rehearsal, we’d talk about their lives, their history, and really got them to open up as people to each other. I also had them fight. I had them fight each other. You learn a lot about who a person really is when you punch them in the face. It gets rid of a lot of the actor stuff.”
And Joel Kinnaman said there was an entire month of rehearsals, in case you were wondering how long this actor fight club was running. The first rule of actor fight club is tell everybody about actor fight club.
As for Joker’s very Hot Topic aesthetic, Ayer explained it as part of a carefully constructed backstory which was inspired by “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, 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?
That’s where the drug lords on Instagram come in, with their conspicuous consumption and extensive tattooing.
“The tattoos tell a very specific story, and eventually people will decipher them and understand what’s going on, but obviously they’re contentious, any time you do something new it’s contentious. There’s very specific stories and Easter eggs in those tattoos. And even his teeth, there’s an entire story behind that which is absolutely canon. It’s putting his history on his body. This Joker is a little more working class, who I believe could live in our world.”
I know when I think “working class,” I think “purple leather trench coat.”
Awhile back, producer Charles Roven said Jared Leto would only come on set if he was addressed as “Mr. J,” which we had plenty of jokes about. In the interview at Yahoo!, we find out the interviewers were told to address him as either “Mr. J.” or “Smiley” if they see him. His method acting even extended to costume fittings, as costume designer Rene Fontana said, “When we first met him, he said — look girls, I’m going to be pretty intense, I’m going to be the Joker when I come for fittings. Sometimes he tried to terrify us, but we’re strong women. He was growling at us, and we’d play back.”
To rehash a previous joke: Some men just want to watch the world shrug and say, “Really?”