Suicide Squad Director Says Jared Leto’s Performance as the Joker is “Absolutely Incredible”

Suicide Squad Director Says Jared Leto's Performance as the Joker is Absolutely Incredible

Jared Leto is the latest actor to play the complex role of The Joker, this time in the upcoming film Suicide Squad. If you’re wondering if he’ll live up to the iconic portrayals of Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, worry not. Director David Ayer was so impressed that he told Total Film that Leto was “absolutely incredible.”

He adds:

When he steps onto the set the world stops,” Ayer said. “ Everything stops. What he’s done is so powerful, so menacing, so palpable, you can feel him. The crew stops working and just watches him. I have to get everybody going again because he’s so fascinating.

Ayer also said that watching Leto as the Joker will make “the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.”

Leto immersed himself in the role so much that he stayed in character throughout production. Co-star Will Smith said that he never met Leto, and only spoke to him as the Joker in their scenes together. Leto also sent Joker-inspired gifts to his co-stars, and called Jim Parrack, who plays Joker’s henchman Jonny Frost, on the phone many times, ordering him to do random tasks.

Suicide Squad tells the story of a group of supervillains assigned by a secret government agency to execute dangerous black ops mission in exchange for clemency. Leto will be joined by Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, Jai Courtney as Boomerang, Cara Delevingne as Enchantress, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc, Adam Beach as Slipknot, Karen Fukuhara as Katana, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag and Jay Hernandez as Diablo.

The Joker is considered one of the greatest supervillains of all time, and one of the four top comic book characters, just behind Batman, Superman, and Spiderman. He is considered Batman’s most popular foe in the series, and is known for his psychopathy and his sadistic sense of humor. He doesn’t have any superpowers, relying instead on his skills in chemical engineering to create poisonous or deadly weapons made from clown gags.

Heath Ledger, who played the Joker for The Dark Knight, also immersed himself in the character, and died right after filming due to accidental intoxication from prescription drugs. To prepare for the role, Ledger locked himself in a hotel room for a month, even keeping a diary with quotes and photos to understand the Joker. Many have speculated that his obsession with his role sent him down a spiral of depression and drug use.

Jack Nicholson, who portrayed the Joker for the 1989 film Batman, was known to have warned Ledger of the role. When told about Ledger’s death, he answered, “I told him so.”

Suicide Squad will premiere in August 5, 2016.

Watch the trailer below:

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