— -- Jared Leto said he “dove pretty deep” into taking on the iconic role of the Joker in “Suicide Squad,” so deep that he is not sure the character fully left him after the filming of the movie wrapped.
“I think you don't really say goodbye,” Leto said in an interview that aired today on “Good Morning America." “I think that the Joker's in there somewhere.”
Leto, 44, is the first actor to portray the comic book villain since Heath Ledger, who won a posthumous Academy Award for playing the character in 2008's “The Dark Knight.”
Leto said he felt a “responsibility” in taking over the role. He described himself as becoming a detective and a journalist in trying to figure out how to embody the Joker.
“You start to investigate and ask questions and sometimes you don't find any answers. You fail a lot. You stumble around in the dark,” he said. “But you start to put together the pieces and get a sense of who this character is and, I have to say, it was the role of a lifetime.”
“It was the most fun I think I've ever had, playing a part,” he said.
Leto, who won an Oscar himself for his role in “Dallas Buyers Club,” had to change his body for the role but he also had to perfect the Joker’s character-defining laugh.
“A lot of experimentation,” he said of his process. “I remember wandering the streets of New York and in Toronto where we were shooting, and I would just laugh out loud and see how people would react to it.”
“Every time when I started to hone in on this laugh, I realized it was the one that really, people would turn around and be like, ‘What the hell is that?’” he recalled.
Leto called his take on the Joker “sick” and “twisted” but also “very lovable” and perhaps ripe for a sequel.
“I feel like this film is an introduction to the Joker and I'm hopeful that we will see more to come,” he said.
“Suicide Squad” opens in theaters nationwide Aug. 5.