Jared Leto Talks Suicide Squad’s Joker

Glimpsed on Instagram, teaser in the trailer and much discussed online, Suicide Squad's Joker has remained tantalising unknowable - up to now. The new issue of Empire pokes through the bars of Arkham Asylum and lays bare the nuts and bolts of Jared Leto’s wild-eyed reimagining of DC’s supervillain. Nuts, of course, being the operative word for this character.

The Joker

"There was definitely a period of… detachment,” the actor tells us of his immersion in Suicide Squad’s wild-eyed outsider. "I took a pretty deep dive. But this was a unique opportunity and I couldn't imagine doing it another way. It was fun, playing those psychological games.” When quizzed on exactly how arduous that process was, Leto unleashes an allusion you’re unlikely to hear from, say, Tom Hanks anytime soon. “It was painful, like giving birth out of my prick-hole.” Ouch.

The role of the Joker in David Ayer’s vivid, sure-to-be-ferocious imagining of the DC team-up is, Leto stresses, radically different from what’s gone before. "If you don't break rules, you're not going to strike new ground,” he explains. You can bring your pencils out again, although there’ll be plenty of other ways for this Joker to inflict pain.

Ayer pays fulsome tribute to his star in the piece. “There’s a power to that character,” he elaborates in Empire, “and by some freaking miracle, through the incredible things Jared has done and the photography and all the other things that went into it, we’ve cooked up something transcendent.” So how dark does this Joker get? “He’s scary.”

The Joker

Surprisingly, perhaps, producer Charles Roven pitches this new Joker as “more social” than those that have gone before. Besides being a sociopath, Roven explains that this Joker is “a very successful and smart businessman”, hinting at another hitherto unseen side of the man. Maybe a man who, beneath the psychic wounds, has something to offer Lex Luthor in due course?

Read our exhaustive Suicide Squad guide here.