Back when Suicide Squad was first released in 2016, Jared Leto’s Joker generated a lot of headlines, both because of the bold choices he took with the character himself and because of his alleged behind-the-scenes method actor behavior. Fans will get a chance to reappraise his onscreen Joker thanks to the upcoming Snyder Cut of Justice League, and now, some may want to reappraise his behind the scenes behavior during the shoot after a new interview was released in which he denies the persistent rumor that he sent Harley Quinn actress Margot Robbie a dead rat.
The correction happened during a conversation with GQ about some of his more iconic roles. Naturally his time as the Joker came up. He talked extensively about how much “camaraderie” was on the set and said he never gave Margot Robbie a dead rat but instead found a place with great vegan cinnamon buns and bringing those was a common thing. You can check out a portion of the quote below…
It’s also interesting how this stuff all takes on a life of its own. I never gave Margot Robbie a dead rat. That’s just not true. I actually gave her… I found this place in Toronto that had great vegan cinnamon buns, and that was a very common thing.
So, what the heck actually happened here? Let’s back up a bit. During the Suicide Squad shoot, Jared Leto reportedly kept himself apart from much of the cast. He said he “stayed a little bit separate because” his character “was a little bit separate.” As part of this, he reportedly sent all the primary cast members gifts, as if they were coming from the Joker. There was reportedly a pig’s head, which Viola Davis talked about in an interview with Vanity Fair. There were supposedly bullets for Will Smith, and a live rat for Margot Robbie. She discussed her reaction with the Shortlist at the time and later elaborated in an interview with Jimmy Fallon.
Other cast members including Viola Davis, Jai Courtney and Cara Delevigne also discussed the rat in various interviews at the time. He supposedly ended up with Guillermo del Toro, who renamed him Venustiano and posted about it several times on social media. Somewhere along the line, however, this story about the very much alive rat, at least in the minds of some Suicide Squad fans, turned into a more morbid story about a dead rat, which is definitely wrong given both all the stories at the time and now Leto’s recent clarification.
Everyone has a very different process for getting in character. There are some actors who can behave like normal off set and get entirely in character on set, and there are others who really try to live the character, or at least the emotions of the character, during the shoot. Leto is clearly someone who likes to immerse himself in what he’s doing, but let the record show, that immersion for Suicide Squad did not involve any dead rats.