“Have you seen the movie? Did you like it? Do you think the Joker is okay?” Jared Leto rattles off as soon as we sit down. The Oscar-winner is eager to get the verdict on his performance of the Joker in “Suicide Squad” — but he doesn’t dare to read fans’ reactions on social media. After all, Gotham City’s resident madman has been played by some of the greats: Jack Nicholson, Mark Hamill (he voiced the animated series) and, of course, Heath Ledger, whose performance Leto describes as “perfect.”
When do you plan to see the movie?
I won’t! I haven’t even watched the trailers.
How did you feel about the character when you read the script?
The Joker is a character so alive, so nuanced that you can’t put all of it on a page. It’s a dream. He is the most tri-dimensional character I’ve ever played. I played some wild ones before, but the Joker is a character without any rules. There is no right or wrong answer. I can jump on the table and pull my hands down or cut your lips off — they are both good choices. He is out of his mind in such an intoxicated way. In his mind, the sun, the Earth, the moon are all orbiting around him. So it’s a really powerful place to be. It’s really fun. Could you tell I was having fun?
Yes. And this Joker has a mob mentality.
Yeah. We looked at cartel leaders. I’m not gonna say one in particular. You can see the gold medallion, some of the bling and the outfits, which are very much like a cartel leader.
Which Joker outfit was your favorite?
I liked the tuxedo, it’s the best. There’s something about the elegance that made it feel really good.
What was the most challenging part of playing the Joker?
With the Joker it’s the expectations and the pressure that comes along with that. And then the responsibility, because the character is so loved. And there has been great work done, you know — Heath Ledger, Jack Nicholson, Mark Hamill. There are all these people who have done powerful work. There is a lot of pressure and a lot of responsibility to deliver something that is adequate and that doesn’t let people down.
What has been the feedback so far?
I haven’t had any feedback. Until now I haven’t talked to anyone who has seen the movie. You know, the people could love it or hate it. I don’t know. I did the best that I could do. I worked the hardest that I could work. I was the bravest that I could be. And that’s all I can really ask of myself.
You mentioned Heath Ledger, who left quite an imprint on that character. Did any inspiration come from him?
I think the inspiration that Heath gave me was the fearlessness that he had. Heath gave a perfect performance. It was not only the perfect villain or the perfect Joker but one of the best performances in film. If you look at what he did in that movie, it’s absolutely incredible, but you can’t go anywhere near what he did. He did one, Jack Nicholson made another … The good thing about their Jokers is that they’re so good that you have to go in a total different direction. So, for me, it was actually a blessing that there have been these beautiful performances, because I knew we had to walk a whole new path.
Are you planning to read what they say about your Joker on social media?
No, no, no. Why would I do that? It would be like eating my own vomit. It’s the craziest thing you can do in the Internet era. You know, that’s why I do music. The connection that a gig gives me is the closest I can be to the fans. That’s why we are making a new album.