Things Jared Leto revealed about The Joker

In October 2015, Jared Leto sat down with Empire Magazine to talk about his, uh, "unique" approach to playing the Joker in 2016's Suicide Squad film. Needless to say, while we're still pretty unsure about the direction he and director David Ayer have taken with the classic villain, we're not going to look a gift horse in its perpetually smiling mouth. Here are some of the most interesting tidbits Leto revealed about his take on the Clown Prince of Crime…

He's Older Than You Think

Leto played the Joker totally method, trying to get into the character's head. This involved listening to 1920s gospel music and reading literature on shamans. Why? Because Leto felt the man behind the white face paint is older than anyone realizes. After all, with his numerous fake teeth and tattoos, this guy has clearly been around the block a few times.

He's Modeled After Cartel Members/LA gangs

Suicide Squad is offering up a Joker who definitely doesn't shop at the same stores that Heath Ledger or Jack Nicholson's Jokers did. His Empire photoshoot included a full length, purple alligator skin topcoat and what appears to be scrubs from Arkham Asylum. The film's producer Charles Roven confirmed the look is inspired by Mexican cartels, while director David Ayer's penchant for LA gang culture as seen in past movies like Street Kings is prevalent as well.

He's Social—A Psycho Businessman

If you saw the teasers, you saw the Joker in a Lamborghini, something that seems maybe a little out of character if you're thinking of Heath Ledger's anarchist Joker. But Leto's Joker has tamed the beast. Yes, he's insane, but he's also a businessman and a crime boss. There's method to his madness, and he is "a very successful and smart businessman, besides being a sociopath."

He Will Mess With Friends And Enemies Alike For A Laugh

In order to fully become the Joker, Leto had to let loose and become the kind of guy who's willing to torment anyone around him with pranks. This included routine phone calls to castmate Jim Parrack, who plays one of the Joker's henchmen, requesting roses spray painted black, and backpacks filled with nine-inch nails (the nails, not the band—Trent Reznor probably can't fit into a backpack). According to Leto, it "was fun, playing those psychological games. But at the same time it was very painful, like giving birth out of my pr**k hole." Ouch.

He's Unlike Any Previous Joker

One thing Leto wants to make clear about this Joker is that he's definitely not Nicholson or Ledger, or even Caesar Romero from the classic 1960s Batman TV show. Leto says "if you don't break rules, you're not going to strike new ground," and with that in mind, he's promising something radically different than previous versions. What that might mean is up for debate, but the interview goes on to include "you can bring your pencils out again," a direct reference to one of the more brutal scenes with Ledger's Joker, when he slams a victim's head down on a sharpened pencil. If this Joker is more brutal than that, audiences will be in for quite a ride.

He's Successful

The Joker has long been called the "Clown Prince of Crime," and he's living up to that title in Suicide Squad. The multiple tattoos, the platinum teeth, the Lamborghini, and the gator skin coat are all signs of a man who's doing very well and can afford to replace body parts with platinum if things aren't going so well.

He Has More Ink

One of the first things people noticed about this new Joker was his tattoos. While some fans loved them and others hated them, they definitely painted the character in a new light. And now, with the first full body shot of Leto in-costume, we've discovered he has even more, including a comic book version of the Joker's smile across his stomach and his own name in the middle of his torso. Why would the Joker need his own named tattooed on his midsection? Maybe so people never forget who they're dealing with?