Ever since we got our first glimpse of Jared Leto’s Joker, there’s been speculation about just how far into the role Leto would disappear, as he’s famously submerged himself into characters in the past, including the one for which he won an Academy Award. (Well, most of our speculation involved wondering what the Joker’s routine for daily chest and armpit hair removal entailed—possibly a day spa, because he deserves to pamper himself?—but after that, it was the method-acting thing.)
Well, according to a new interview with Empire accompanying his cover photo, Leto basically refused to break character during the shoot. Actor Jim Parrack, who plays Joker henchman Johnny Frost, got the worst of it, as Leto would randomly call him during the day demanding he spray paint some roses black or fill a backpack with nine inch nails. At which point Parrack presumably rolled his eyes at whoever was around and said, “That’s my Joker!” with a slide-whistle sound effect.
Beyond that, Leto goes on to say some very Leto-like things about playing the iconic character. For instance, Jared Leto now knows what it would feel like to give birth through his penis, only he calls it his “prick hole,” because Jared Leto is gross.
There was definitely a period of…detachment. 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. But at the same time it was very painful, like giving birth out of my prick hole.
For his take on the villain, Leto says he listened to ’20s gospel music and read literature about shamans, as one does. He views the Joker as a bit of an old soul, sort of the way that guy you knew in high school who only hit on girls younger than himself would always tell them he senses they’re an ”old soul,” just like him.
I always get the sense that The Joker may be much older than people think. It’s something different. If you don’t break rules, you’re not going to strike new ground. I think I’ll be cooling down for the rest of my life.
The cool-down period from all those rules that Leto broke is now in its infancy, so we should probably wait 20 years or so to check back in and see how it’s going then. Of course, it was an open question whether Leto would even pick up the phone to do the interview. “I was just thinking that the Joker would probably just say, ‘Fuck you,’ and hang up,” says Leto, fueling excitement that his take on the role makes the bad guy indistinguishable from a Staten Island retiree.