Will Smith Reveals that Jared Leto Went Full Heath Ledger While Filming ‘Suicide Squad’

Vanity Fair – For his Oscar-winning role in Dallas Buyers Club, Jared Leto lost 30 pounds, shaved his entire body, and refused to break character while filming the drama. And for his follow-up role in the upcoming Suicide Squad, Leto reportedly took his transformation into the iconic super-villain The Joker just as seriously.

In a new interview, Leto’s co-star Will Smith, who plays Deadshot, reveals that Leto completely disappeared into his character so much so that Smithstill doesn’t know what Leto, the actor, is like in real life.

“[Suicide Squad] is insane,” Smith said in a Beats 1 interview Monday. “I’ve never actually met Jared Leto. We worked together for six months and we’ve never exchanged a word outside of ‘Action!’ and ‘Cut!’ I literally have not met him yet. So, the first time I see him will be ‘Hey, Jared. What’s up?’ He was all in on the Joker.”

This summer, Suicide Squad cast mate Adam Beach, who plays Slipknot, revealed that Leto sent out gifts in character as well.

He sent Margot Robbie a nice love letter with a black box with a rat in it—a live rat,” Beach told E!. “It was beautiful. Then he sent bullets to Will [Smith] with a letter.”

According to Beach, Leto also sent the cast a video and a “dead hog.” Beach explained of the cryptic gestures, “Basically, what he said was, ‘Guys, I can’t be there but I want you to know I’m doing my work as hard as you guys… The video he showed is in character. It blew our minds away. Then we realized that day, this is real.”

jared leto joker

Was there really any doubt that my man Jared Leto was gonna go total maniac in prep for Suicide Squad. Dude has been bonkers since his early Thirty  Seconds to Mars and Requiem days.  Kind of an inspiration for me, though; god knows I would give anything to send my fat bitch coworkers a couple dead rats in a box and drop a dead hog on the company doorstep. Pretty sure Jared Leto just hates Margot Robbie’s guts. They probably didn’t taste as sweet as he anticipated.

Part of me is extremely worried for Leto’s health, but I would also bet that the industry, and actors in particular, are more aware of mental instability warnings since Heath Ledger’s tragic demise. Ledger was also a whole different ball game; locked up in a hotel room for month’s on end, running through prescriptions, and only cracking the door open to accept room service and whisper to his agent.  This news about Leto staying totaling in character while filming seems a little more in line with “normal” character acting, as normal as that can ever be considered.  At least he’s interacting with breathing mammals.  Leto has been rocking hard since ’98 and came up – as an actor -working under guys like Pitt/Norton (Fight Club) and Bale (American Psycho).  Combine their tutelage with the few weeks of speedballs that Leto and Marlon Wayans definitely did didn’t do to prep for Requiem and you’ve got one hell of an awesome weirdo.

Ledger’s transformation into the Joker resulted in one of the most impressive onscreen performances that we have ever seen.  Leto will go down as the same breed of artist as Ledger and while JL’s resume is not yet as well-rounded, he seems to nail more and more challenging roles each year. It goes without saying that hopefully his deep dives into every new character is simply that and nothing more.

One thing is for sure, this all has me AMPED UP for Suicide Squad. It’s too bad that we have to wait until August 2016, but I’m getting the feeling that it will be well worth the wait. This trailer looks so money, and that’s not just because of the ominous Halo music.