A trailer centering around Leto’s highly-anticipated role was released just days ago. Unlike the Jokers before him ― including Jack Nicholson’s terrifying clown and Heath Ledger’s gritty, dark version ― Leto’s appears to be almost a caricature, wearing shiny blazers, tattoos, lots of jewelry and a lime green hairdo that probably requires near-constant upkeep.
Leto has addressed the pressure surrounding the role, known for its great effect on the actors who take it on.
“You’re kind of walking upon hallowed ground, and it deserves the very best that you can do,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “It takes over your life and that’s what I needed to do for myself.”
Both Nicholson and Ledger preceded Leto in 1989’s “Batman” and 2008’s “The Dark Knight,” respectively. Famously, Nicholson warned Ledger about the extreme side affects of playing such a consuming role, and Ledger told the New York Times he “slept an average of two hours a night” while playing the part because “[he] couldn’t stop thinking” and “[his] mind was still going.” The actor tragically died a few months after production wrapped on the “The Dark Knight” due to an accidental overdose in 2008.
Seemingly proving Nicholson right, Will Smith, Leto’s co-star, said the actor never broke out of his Joker character during filming.
“I’ve never actually met Jared Leto,” Smith told Beats 1’s Zane Lowe. “We worked together for six months and we’ve never exchanged a word outside of ‘Action’ and ‘Cut!’ We’ve never said ‘Hello’ ... I’ve only spoken to him as Deadshot and as him as the Joker.”
But Leto isn’t all seriousness. On Instagram earlier this year, he joked about expectations for his performance by sharing a meme.
“Suicide Squad” hits theaters on Aug. 5.