Focusing on a team of super-villains forced to fight against an evil greater than themselves, next year’s Suicide Squad certainly appears to be an eccentrically original take on the comic book movie genre. However, for Jared Leto’s role as the Joker, it seems that getting into character entailed on-set behavior that was almost equally as deranged as his character.
Appearing on The Howard Stern Show, Suicide Squad cast member Ike Barinholtz (The League, The Mindy Project) opened up about his experiences on set with Jared Leto during his full Joker phase, which also seemed to be mirrored by his on-screen paramour, Margot Robbie, who plays Harley Quinn. Barinholtz confessed that his own still-unnamed role in the roguish DC Comics mega-movie is apparently so minor that he was “like number 10 on the call sheet.” However, he was still around enough to recall some peculiar off-screen stunts put on by Leto, whose news-making dyed, inked, and grilled physical transformation was complemented by insane idiosyncrasies. According to Barinholtz:
“He did this crazy thing. All the actors were rehearsing, and his character is in love with Margot Robbie, she’s Harley Quinn. So, we’re rehearsing, and this actor who plays the Joker’s kind of lieutenant, walks in and he goes, ‘Present for Ms. Quinn.’ Hands her a box. She opens the f**king box, and a live, giant black rat pops out. And we’re like, ‘What the f**k is going on? That’s crazy!”
Of course, it didn’t stop there. Barinholtz further describes Leto’s “hardcore” approach to his Joker-like behavior with a seemingly more conventional gesture of dinner… albeit with a lead-filled twist. As a clearly freaked Barinholtz further explains:
“So like 20 minutes later, we’re still rehearsing, and the actor comes back in and he goes, ‘This is for the Squad from Mr. J. And he throws a pig on the table, a dead pig, and as he puts the pig on the table, all these bullets start to come out of it!” Clarifying, “This is in a rehearsal space a month before we started shooting.”
However, after his initial apprehension, Barinholtz ultimately seemed to understand Leto’s need for switching into that mode, saying:
“I like that, because I don’t want someone to be like ‘Hey did you see that f**king Met game last night? That was crazy.’ Action! ‘I’m the Joker!!!’”
Interestingly enough, co-star, Margot Robbie also seemed to share Leto’s 24/7 method acting approach to the role. Barinholtz described her onset behavior as more akin to a beer-drinking tomboy who brandished a tattoo gun, needling real ink into any willing participant. Allegedly often drunk, she apparently left a permanent typo on one hapless volunteer, who, of course, dismissed it as no big deal. Because… you know… Margot Robbie, right?
Having to fill the monolithic shoes of the late Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight is obviously no easy task. However, we shall certainly see if the over-the-top artiste approach pays its dividends for Leto when Suicide Squad hits theaters on August 5, 2016. (Although bullet-filled pigs are unlikely to be served at the concession stands.)