"Suicide Squad's" Leto Discusses The Method Behind His Joker's Madness

So far fans have only learned about Jared Leto's take on the Joker from the actor's "Suicide Squad" castmates. Leto's remained fairly mum about his process, but Will Smith said that he only ever interacted with the Joker on set and we know that he gave his castmates a live rat and a dead hog. Now Leto himself is opening up about his experience playing the Clown Prince of Crime. In a recent interview with "Empire" magazine, Leto discussed the depths of his method acting.

"There was definitely a period of...detachment," Leto told Empire, as transcribed over at ComicBookMovie. The actor revealed that his method process involved him calling the actor that played his henchman Jonny Frost (Jim Parrack) and ordering him to spray paint roses black or fill a backpack with nine-inch nails. To stay in his character's off-kilter headspace, Leto also said he listened to gospel music from the 1920s and read literature about shamans.

"I took a pretty deep dive. But this was a unique opportunity and I couldn't imagine doing it another way. It was fun, playing those psychological games. But at the same time it was very painful, like giving birth out of my prick hole."

Leto also revealed a bit of his take on the character, saying that he felt he had to break some rules to bring him to life. "I always get the sense that the Joker may be much older than people think. It's something different. If you don't break rules, you're not going to strike new ground. I think I'll be cooling down for the rest of my life."

Empire also got a quote from "Suicide Squad" producer Charles Roven, who said Joker's new look -- glimpsed on the magazine's cover -- is inspired by Mexican cartels. "[He's] more social...a very successful and smart businessman besides being a sociopath."

Leto's collaborator, "Suicide Squad" director David Ayer, called the character the "third rail of comic book movies." He added that "there's a power to that character, and by some freaking miracle, through the incredible things Jared has done and the photography and all the other millions of things that went into it, we've cooked up something transcendent. He's scary."

"Suicide Squad" opens on August 5, 2016.

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