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Ever since it was announced that Jared Leto would be playing The Joker in Suicide Squad, the one question on everybody's mind has been, how will he stack up against Heath Ledger? Jared Leto, who is now finally out of character, has spoken about the weight that was on his shoulders following the iconic performance in The Dark Knight. From listening to Leto talk, it sounds like he didn't necessarily try to compare himself to Heath Ledger, because the actor thinks that performance is perfection.
While Heath Ledger's casting as The Joker in The Dark Knight was met with some trepidation when originally announced, upon release the performance was heralded by all corners. Coming as it did, after Ledger's untimely death, the role was all the more tragic. Ledger would go on to win a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, an award Jared Leto himself would win a few years later. Recently, Leto told Rolling Stone how he felt following in Heath Ledger's footsteps once again.
Heath did an impeccable, perfect performance as the Joker. It's one of the best performances ever in cinema. I had met Heath before. I didn't know him well, but he was a beautiful person.
There really is no higher compliment than "best performances ever in cinema." There's no other way to read that. Jared Leto held Heath Ledger's performance in as high a regard as anybody. That makes being the first one to follow him a tough job, to be sure. If there's one thing that we know, it's that Leto truly committed himself to the role. To hear his co-stars tell it, Leto was never out of character during filming. Even when the cameras were off, he was still the Joker.
It makes one wonder why Jared Leto would take on such a monumental task. He goes on to say in the interview that, if Heath Ledger had been the only person to ever play the Joker, he probably wouldn't have done it, but because the character has been played, and portrayed numerous different ways, by numerous different people, it was ok to do his own version. Still, Heath Ledger's will be one that will always be remembered.
We'll all finally get to really see Jared Leto's Joker when Suicide Squad hits screens next week. He'll be joining an elite group which doesn't simply include Heath Ledger, but Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Hamill.