The Association of Magazine Media

JARED LETO ON OVERCOMING THE VIOLENCE ASSOCIATED WITH THE JOKER, LEARNING FROM HEATH LEDGER, WHY ITS TIME FOR A GAY LEADING MAN IN HOLLYWOOD, AND WHY HE WILL CHOOSE MUSIC OVER ACTING, EVERY TIME.

 New York, N.Y.––“I don’t remember much hesitation,” Jared Leto tells GQ Style’s Mark Anthony Green about his decision to take on the role of the Joker. “I’m sure that I considered everything when I got the call. But let me say a few things… Heath Ledger: Not only was he perfect at the Joker––perfect. There’s not a single frame where he’s not great. Not only was he perfect in that role, but it’s probably one of the best performances, not just of a villain but maybe one of the best performances on film, period. Period. That’s my opinion. And that was my opinion before I got the call. It was a perfect performance, and those are very rare.” In the 2nd-ever issue of GQ Style, we spent two days with Suicide Squad star Jared Leto: One in Milan, where he donned the best clothes from this fall’s Italian collections (capes and canes included). And one in L.A., where he explained who he really is. (Sort of).

“On the one hand, I had an enormous amount of respect for what’s been done before, like real admiration and respect for the work that had been done before,” Jared Leto says of the Joker’s on-screen legacy. “On the other, this excitement about the opportunity to go and say something else, something new, something different. Leto also acknowledges that the role definitely took its toll on him, mentally:“There was a point where I was researching violence and was watching a lot of things that…things that it’s arguable if anybody should even see. And I noticed that started to have an impact on me that I didn’t like, so I stopped. It starts to just get inside of you, violence and some of those things. But you know, I’ve made some pretty dark films.” Regardless of the darkness and violence associated with the role––including the rumors surrounding Heath Ledger’s mental state while assuming the role––Leto says he didn’t think twice about diving headfirst into the role: “I think that you have to dive in. I think it’s that sort of thing. It’s a challenging piece of work. But we had a lot of fun with it, too. I mean, the Joker is not that bad a guy…. The Joker is great because he’s always making himself laugh, so I can just make a joke where people are like, What? And I’m laughing on the inside. He finds things funny that other people will never. Like death. And one of the things I really loved about the Joker is that he’s an entertainer.”

To see the full story, with photos shot by Thomas Whiteside, go to: https://www.gq.com/story/suicide-squad-jared-leto-cover-interview

When the conversation turns to Jared’s eccentric style, he shares his opinions on masculinity in Hollywood. “We’re in an interesting time right now where people are exploring all kinds of different ideas of identity, not just masculinity or femininity. For myself, I have never had a specific idea of masculinity,” says Leto. Because he doesn’t abide to specific idea of masculinity, he also doesn’t necessarily consider himself a ‘leading man.’ “Tom Ford or Denzel Washington, leading man. You know? Matt Damon, leading man. McConaughey, leading man.” But Leto also hopes America will come to accept something outside of this stereotype: a gay leading man, though he’s still skeptical: “I definitely don’t think a gay leading man would have the same opportunities as a straight leading man. I don’t think that. Not for a single second. I don’t know if that’s offensive or not, but that’s my thought right now. It shouldn’t be that way. I don’t think you’ll have as many opportunities. And I think you could say the same for minorities…. I think that this is still a very conservative business."

When asked if he had to make the choice between acting and music, Leto doesn’t hesitate. “I would choose music, for sure,” he says. “I’m better onstage than almost anything I’ve ever done in my life.” According to Leto, music is probably a better way to get to know him, too: “If you’ve seen me at a concert, you probably would get to know me a lot. I think all of us in the band [Thirty Seconds to Mars] share a lot of who we are at the shows.”

The current issue of GQ Style, a new quarterly intent on curating the best of fashion and luxury for an elevated, globally minded readership, is available on national newsstands on August 16.

 

Date: 
Wednesday, August 3, 2016