In the buildup to “Suicide Squad’s” theatrical release, much has been made of Jared Leto’s process of getting into the Joker role. In addition to going method and only interacting with his co-stars as the Joker, he gave his castmates a number of interesting gifts. Those gifts included bullets, a dead hog and a live rat. And the gift he gave Viola Davis made the Amanda Waller actress feel “worrisome.”
Now that the film is close to being released, Leto’s dropped his Joker guise and is talking about the process that got him in character for one of the most iconic villains of all time. In a recent interview with Washington D.C.’s Fox affiliate, Leto said that his gift-giving was done as homework to prep for the role.
“It was interesting to do because the Joker loves to play games, he loves to manipulate, and that was part of the reason to do that,” said Leto. “When you do give a gift to someone, even in real life, you think about ‘what do I get them?’ You think about who that person is to you, what would they like, so that immediately started to be really good homework for me. What do I give Deadshot? What’s my relationship with Deadshot? What’s our history? And down the line with every character, you start to think about what would I give them.”
For example, Leto revealed what he gave Will Smith and how it informed his view of Joker’s relationship with Deadshot. “I gave Deadshot a briefcase full of bullets. It was kind of a message, it was kind of a threat, it was kind of a reminder. And I also, people haven’t really talked about this, I wrote every character a note, a poem. What it did was it started me on this journey of thinking about who these people are and it was a lot of fun.”
But Leto didn’t just give gruesome gifts. “I did give some nice gifts as well, but people don’t talk about those,” said Leto, who clarified that not all of the gifts that grabbed headlines were true — although he wouldn’t reveal which reports were false. “I did give cupcakes.”
Directed by David Ayer and starring Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Viola Davis and more, “Suicide Squad” opens on August 5.
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