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Jared Leto says 'Suicide Squad' will 'redefine' the Joker

"You just knew you had to do something different," the actor said.

By Annie Martin
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Jared Leto says 'Suicide Squad' will 'redefine' the Joker
Jared Leto at the Academy Awards on February 28. The actor will play the Joker in "Suicide Squad." File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, April 1 (UPI) -- Jared Leto will bring a new and exciting take on the Joker in Suicide Squad.

The 44-year-old actor discussed the challenge of reinventing the DC Comics character in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. Jack Nicholson and late actor Heath Ledger previously portrayed the Joker on film.

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"The work that's been done on this character by so many people before me has been so impactful, so incredible, so much fun, so profound, so risky, that it's a very special thing to be asked to take on that responsibility," Leto said.

"You just knew you had to do something different. You had to make it your own. That happens all the time," he explained. "Directors take on great works of cinema, actors reinterpret roles, that's been going on for a great deal of time. From Scarface to Hamlet."

Nicholson stole the show as the Joker in Batman (1989), while Ledger received a posthumous Academy Award for the role in The Dark Knight (2008). Leto will follow two iconic performances but said he welcomed the challenge.

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"It's a weighty thing to do," he said. "But it's exciting. The Joker is one of those roles. He was written brilliantly when he was first shared with the world 75 years ago, or something crazy like that. And I think I'm just really grateful I had the opportunity."

Leto stayed in character for the entirety of filming, even sending co-star Margot Robbie a love letter with a live rat. Director David Ayer recently said the actor's performance was so "incredible" the world would "stop" every time he stepped on set.

"What he's done is so powerful, so menacing, and so palpable, you can feel him," Ayer shared. "The crew stops working and just watches him. I have to get everybody going again because he's so fascinating."

Suicide Squad opens in theaters Aug. 5. Robbie co-stars as Harley Quinn, with Will Smith as Deadshot, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller and Cara Delevingne as Enchantress.

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