We’ve talked at length here about all of Jared Leto’s super creepy actions that he passes off as cool stories. During filming and pre-production on Suicide Squad, he sent his cast mates and members of the crew (supposedly) used condoms, dildos, dead and live animals, knives, and boxes of bullets. None of these are actually fun stories. At best, they come across as juvenile, gross, and tiresome. And at worst, they’re terrifying.
And now Leto himself has given name to what he’s doing. “No rules” acting.
From the sound of it, all of this behavior comes out of a deep respect for the character of The Joker.
You’re kind of walking upon hallowed ground, and it deserves the very best that you can do. It takes over your life and that’s what I needed to do for myself.
So the respect for the character clearly outweighs his respect for his coworkers (and himself, I would guess).
To prepare for the role, Leto met with psychiatrists and their most damaged patients to understand the sociopath mindset. But in the end, he relied on instinct, just like the Joker would. “You don’t know what the Joker is going to do next; you never do,” says Leto. “It was intoxicating to have no rules.”
First of all, who the hell are these psychiatrists that are letting Jared Leto near their “most damaged” patients? And then why the hell is it being celebrated that he chose not to analyze the behavior of a sociopath, but to disregard everything he was given and just give in to whatever kind of deranged imagined picture of ‘crazy’ he felt like making up in any given moment. If that’s what he wants to do on camera, cool. But he’s pretending to be a psychopath to other actual humans, and no one is stopping him.
There ARE rules, Leto. Even for acting. They’re there to keep you and your coworkers safe. Just because your characters are unsafe, that does not give you permission to be unsafe. If anything, that should mean you have to work harder to maintain a safe environment back here in REALITY. I have a permanent scar left over from my acting days when a scene partner decided our carefully scripted fight choreography wasn’t as important as the emotions his character was dealing with. YES, THERE ARE FUCKING RULES.
I’m not saying Leto’s behavior was at this same level, but it’s hard to ignore the similarities between what he’s saying here, and this story that broke last month about the abuse fostered at this well-loved Chicago theater. A respected actor there had no line between his character’s habits of violence, manipulation, and terror and his own. Check out these quotes, all of which are about that abusive actor and the Profiles Theatre, but all of which are variations on things we’ve heard about Leto:
“When you’re watching him, you feel like you’re watching something going on in real life,” says Tyler Gray, a former company member. “You don’t feel like he’s acting. You feel like you’re seeing something that you shouldn’t be seeing.”
“He created a little bit of a cult mentality, and isolation, and disciple mind-set,” Wellin says. It’s a sentiment that’s echoed among other actors and crew members who have passed through Profiles. There was a sense that Cox, and Profiles, were special, set apart and better than every other theater in Chicago. Good acting, he would say, only came from honest, “real” people, people like them.
Profiles’s motto is “whatever the truth requires.” Onstage, the cast was stripped naked, literally and emotionally, especially in the knock-down fight at the very end. “This was certainly a show that took people by storm, and you kind of get on that train, and you just go with it,” Benson says now. “And then you think of the work you’re doing, ‘This is what it requires. This is whatever the truth requires. This is what is required of me to do this.’
Again, I’m not saying Leto is physically or emotionally harming his coworkers. But he DOES seem to have a clear disregard for the very idea that he could easily and regularly be doing so, and that it is not up to him to determine where the line is.
A lot of outlets point to the other Suicide Squad cast and crew members’ reactions, saying what Leto is doing is fine because they (with the exception of Viola Davis) loved it all. Screw that. Just like in that Chicago theater piece, when an older or more revered actor (like a goddamn Oscar winner, maybe) establishes questionable or damaging behavior as something that older, revered actors do, it may make their coworkers uncomfortable, or maybe it doesn’t. But we can’t give him a pass based on their interview quotes.
This movie comes out next month, at which point I hope to hell we can stop talking about it. Jared Leto, you are too exhausting to handle.