Jared Leto Talks Playing the ‘Nearly Shakespearean’ Joker in Suicide Squad

Next year will see not only the world’s finest superheroes throwing down in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but also the wildest villains of the DCU making their way to the big screen in Suicide Squad. Among them will be Jared Leto as The Joker, making him the first actor to take on the character in a film since Heath Ledger’s performance in 2008’s The Dark Knight. Speaking with Billboard, Leto opened up about this opportunity, with some very choice words to describe The Joker.

“The opportunity to take on this nearly Shakespearean character — that’s what graphic novels and comic books are becoming, right?” Leto says. “[He’s] this beautiful disaster of a character — what a big challenge.”

The outlet also reports that Leto is gaining weight for the role, quoting him as saying, “Do you mind if I eat a little? I’m trying to gain a lot of weight. It means I have to eat every couple of hours — and I’m terrible at eating a lot.” Though Leto himself makes no mention of this as preparation for his role as the clown prince of crime, it’s still an interesting note. Leto has previously had dramatic weight loss and gain for roles in films including losing 40 lbs for his Oscar-winning role in Dallas Buyers Club and gaining 67 lbs for the role of Mark David Chapman in Chapter 27, which resulted in Leto contracting gout.

Leto joins a cast that includes two-time Academy Award nominee Will Smith (The Pursuit of HappynessFocus) as Deadshot; Joel Kinnaman (RoboCop, Easy Money) as Rick Flagg; Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall StreetFocus) as Harley Quinn; Jai Courtney (DivergentThe Water Diviner) as Captain Boomerang; Cara Delevingne (Anna Karenina, upcoming Pan) as Enchantress; and two-time Oscar nominee Viola Davis (The Help, Prisoners) as Amanda Waller.

Written and directed by Fury and End of Watch‘s David Ayer, Suicide Squad is setting up shop in Toronto, Canada at their Pinewood extension, starting this month. Following two months of pre-production, the film will shoot from April until September for an August 5, 2016 release. Check back for finalized casting, which should be announced in the very near future.

(Photo Credit: Alberto Reyes/WENN.com)