Jared Leto on Heath Ledger’s Joker & America & Gay Leading Men

Suicide Squad is now officially in the hands of critics and reviewers, and are sadly giving it pretty mixed reviews with a Metacritic score of 42.

Jared Leto, who plays a the Joker in the film, sat down with GQ Style to talk about various things, including Heath Ledger’s legacy as the Joker and whether or not America is ready to accept a gay leading man.

When asked what prompted him to take the role despite Heath’s legendary legacy with his excellent portrayal of the Joker, Jared said: “….let me say a few things. Number one, Heath Ledger: Not only was he perfect as 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. Then you have Jack Nicholson, one of the world’s legends. So you have two legends. Then you have Cesar Romero, and then you have Mark Hamill, who does this incredible voice acting. Then you have 75 years that the Joker has been written about and brought to life by artists.”

“But in a way, the fact that it has been interpreted so many times I think gave me a great sense of freedom and permission to walk down a different path. 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. On the other, this excitement about the opportunity to go and say something else, something new, something different.”

Then, when asked about if America would accept a gay leading man, he had this to say: “I think so… uh, I hope so. 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. What a word, ‘minority’. Have we taken that word off the list yet? ‘Cause it should be. Anyway, no, I think that this is still a very conservative business.”

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Jared Leto on Heath Ledger's Joker & America & Gay Leading Men
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Jared Leto speaks on Heath Ledger's Joker and whether America is ready to accept a gay leading man.