Jared Leto follows in some illustrious footsteps when he plays The Joker in next summer's DC antihero ensemble movie, Suicide Squad. Jack Nicholson completely stole the show from a rubber-suited Michael Keaton in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman. And the late Heath Ledger gave one of his greatest ever performances in the role in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, bagging a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
But we reckon Leto has got what it takes to make the Joker his own. Here are seven reasons why.
1) He's Mr. Method
Heath Ledger famously put himself through the wringer to play the Joker. Such is his legendary commitment to method acting that you can be sure Jared Leto will also stop at nothing to get himself inside the head of this most psychopathic of screen villains. He even chopped off his trademark flowing locks for the role!
2) He undergoes extraordinary transformations
The main benefit of Leto's method madness is that he allows himself to be completely taken over by a character. In Requiem for a Dream, for example, he was totally convincing as an emaciated New York City street junkie. His extraordinary performance as a transgender woman in Dallas Buyers Club deservedly bagged him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
3) He's been freaking out his fellow cast members
Reports from the set reveal that Leto has been sending his co-stars gifts. Sweet, huh? Except that these aren't any ordinary presents. The recipients, who included Margot Robbie and Will Smith, got live rats, bullets and a deceased pig, along with some creepy notes. He also distributed a terrifying video of himself in character.
4) He's already a rock star
What is The Joker if not a showman rock musician in the grand tradition of Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson? Leto's Empire cover shoot depicts the character as a strikingly tattooed punk rocker, with slicked-back green hair. As frontman with multimillion-selling rockers Thirty Seconds to Mars, he's been a genuine rock star since 1998. Reports suggest he's been trying out his Joker cackle on delighted concert audiences.
5) The role has driven him to the edge of madness
"I can't wait for you to see this," Leto told an audience member at a recent Q&A session. "They're going to lock me away in a box after this movie comes out."
Elaborating to Empire, Leto said the following: "I took a pretty deep dive. But this was a unique opportunity and I couldn't imagine doing it another way. It was fun, playing these psychological games. But as the same time it was very painful."
6) He refused to break character throughout the entire shoot
Eat your heart out Daniel Day-Lewis! Will Smith, who plays Deadshot (pictured below), has quipped that he never actually met Jared Leto.
7) He's actually a really nice, socially engaged guy
The Joker and Jared Leto couldn't be more different. On the one hand, you've got one of the most sinister and sadistic supervillains in all of comic book fiction. On the other is a vegan humanitarian activist who's campaigned for same-sex marriage and animal rights and has been a long-term supporter of President Obama. Perhaps it's being so grounded that has allowed Leto to venture into the dark places necessary to reinvent this iconic evildoer for a new generation.