“I’ve never actually met Jared Leto” – Will Smith
The highly anticipated Suicide Squad movie won’t hit our screens until August, 2016, but that hasn’t stopped us enjoying all the stories that have come from the set while filming takes place; most of which concern Jared Leto who assumes the role of the Joker for the movie.
Playing such an iconic role comes with a hefty reputation to live up to, and it seems as though Leto has gone to great lengths to portray this character exactly as we all hope he might. Firstly, there was the gifts he sent to his co-stars on set, including a live rat to Margot Robbie, who plays Harley Quinn. Then the cast decided to brandish each other with tattoos marking them out as members of the “skwad”, and now Will Smith, who plays Deadshot in the movie, has revealed that Leto stayed in role as the joker the entire time he was on set.
“I’ve never actually met Jared Leto,” he told Zane Lowe during a Radio One Beats Interview. “We worked together for six months, and we’ve never exchanged a word outside of ‘Action!’ and ‘Cut!’ We’ve never said ‘hello,’ we’ve never said ‘good day.’ I’ve only ever spoken to him as Deadshot and him as the Joker. I literally have not met him yet. So, the first time I see him will be ‘Hey, Jared. What’s up? Hey man, how you doing. Nice to meet you.’ Never. Not a single word exchanged off camera. He was all in on the Joker.”
This level of dedication to the role has echoes of Heath Ledger, who also famously went method when he played the Joker in Dark Knight. He refused to talk with anyone who didn’t address him in character, and managed to channel the madness of the Joker so successfully that it caused very real concern for people on the set with him.
Method acting is highly regarded by many actors and for good reason; it can often turn in stronger, more authentic performances when you’re entirely dedicated to the role. There are those who can take it to the extreme, though.
Daniel Day Lewis spent his entire time in a wheelchair when filming My Left Foot, and slumped over so much that he broke two ribs. He also refused to eat unless he was spoon-fed. The dedication did pay off; he won the Oscar that year, but even so, broken ribs is a high price to pay.
Adrien Brody also went method for The Pianist. Learning the piano is one thing, but Brody felt as though he needed to experience loss on a similar level to his character, who was a Holocaust survivor. For the duration of filming, Brody gave up his girlfriend, agent, car, apartment and phone, and moved to Europe. Though a whole host of accolades came his way, we can’t help but wonder if his friends and family were really best pleased with his dedication.