Jared Leto Cast as The Joker in 'Suicide Squad'

So long "My So-Called Life" -- Leto's an Oscar winner now.

ByABC News
December 3, 2014, 11:48 AM

— -- Jared Leto, Will Smith and Tom Hardy are among the epic cast for “Suicide Squad,” which is based off the DC Comics team of super villains, who are given a second chance to redeem themselves by performing missions for the government.

The most intriguing casting of the movie is Leto as the Joker. He will be the first to play Batman's nemesis since the late Heath Ledger played him in "The Dark Knight."

Odds are Batman will not be in this film as this is not a Batman movie, but the Joker has the star power to carry a film all by himself and so does Leto.

Here are 5 reasons Leto is poised to be a great Joker:

1 - He's an Oscar Winner

Leto, 42, is riding a high after winning Best Supporting Actor playing a transgender woman suffering from AIDS in last year's "Dallas Buyers Club." If you've seen the movie, Leto disappears into the character and was phenomenal in the role. After acting for almost 20 years -- dating back to 'My So-Called Life" in 1994 -- Leto is hitting his stride and is poised to "kill" in this movie, pun intended.

PHOTO: This image released by Focus Features shows Jared Leto as Rayon in a scene from "Dallas Buyers Club."
This image released by Focus Features shows Jared Leto as Rayon in a scene from "Dallas Buyers Club."

2 - He's Method

The producers of "Dallas Buyers Club" told ABC News last year that until the movie was over and they started on the awards show tour, "We hadn't met Jared Leto." Basically, during filming, he was always in character and was always just Rayon.

He even dropped 30 pounds to play a sick character.

"Losing weight like that changes the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you think, the way you breathe, the way you feel, the way people treat you,” Leto told LA Confidential magazine at the time of the film's release. “So that makes it a great asset. You set a bar for yourself where you say, ‘Okay, I’ve done this, so I’ve got to make sure I do all the other things well.’”

3 - He Looks the Part

Like Ledger before him, Leto looks a little crazy -- long hair and full-on beard. Heath Ledger won an Oscar for his impeccable work in 2008's "The Dark Knight" by getting all the details and mannerisms of the Joker down to a science. That's what Leto will have to work on, the voice and the cadence of this amazingly psychotic character. But if anyone can do it, it's Leto. It's likely he'll be tough to be around during filming.

PHOTO: Heath Ledger, as The Joker, appears in a scene from the movie "The Dark Knight."
Heath Ledger, as The Joker, appears in a scene from the movie "The Dark Knight."

4 - He's Fresh After Taking a Long Acting Hiatus

Before "Dallas Buyers Club," Leto was away from acting, touring with his band for almost five years. After "Dallas," he took another break and hasn't made a movie since. Unlike other A-list draws, this is Leto's focus, as far as acting is concerned. Think the James Cameron of acting. The hope is that every few years he can come around and make a classic.

Last year, he spoke to Interview magazine on how his long break helped him become a better actor.

"I don't think that I considered myself to be a very good actor or to have much to offer during that time. But the five years away from film made me not only a better person, but a better actor. It gave me more confidence. I also think that art is really predicated upon the experiences that you've had in your life," he said.

5 - Ever Since "My So-Called Life," He's Been Trying to Shed the Heartthrob Label

Leto rarely speaks about playing Jordan Catalano in the early 1990's show, but when asked last year why he gets so evasive talking about his first role, that thousands of fans still love, he simply told the NY Times, "It was my first job, a really small period in my life. We only did 19 episodes. It was a matter of months."

This drive to shy away from being the eye candy will only push Leto to knock it out of the park with the Joker.

"Suicide Squad" is slated for release in August 2016.