According to Suicide Squad director David Ayer, Jared Leto’s performance as the Joker freaked him out. “Big time. The hairs stand up on the back of your neck,” he said in an interview with USA Today. “If you’re a Batman fan, you have to love/hate the Joker because he’s the best nemesis ever. Just to have him on one of my film sets, it was a very memorable thing for me.”
The filmmaker further praised Leto, whose method approach to the character has been widely reported. “I love helping actors find what methodology works best for them,” Ayer said. “It’s like tailoring a suit — it’s not one size fits all. But it really made an event when he would show up on set. There was almost a pageantry to him, which did translate into the power on screen he has.”
The Oscar winner follows Heath Ledger, who played the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. As seen in the trailers and images for Suicide Squad, Leto’s interpretation is drastically different.
Zack Snyder, director of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, said of Leto, “The commitment to the role, you’re going to see that really shine through in a way that you’re not used to seeing actors in movies really go all the way with [in] every little moment and every little breath. You’re going to get taken on a journey with Jared that I don’t know that everyone’s ready for but I think it will be amazing.”
Leto joins the likes of Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Jai Courtney, and Viola Davis in Suicide Squad, which sees some of the most dangerous supervillains executing a dangerous mission for the government. If they survive, their slates are wiped clean. The film will hit theaters on Aug. 5.
Read more about the Joker through USA Today’s interview with Ayer.