What Will Smith Actually Said About Jared Leto and Suicide Squad Isn’t What Everyone Thinks

No matter what the Internet says.
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Personally, I’m excited about Suicide Squad, LetoJoker and all. On the other hand, some members of the Mary Sue team have concerns about how that character will play out. However, I think we can all agree on this: the misinterpretation of Will Smith’s words is a ridiculous attempt to make it all a bigger deal than it really is.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google “Will Smith Jared Leto,” and you’re bound to be greeted with endless headlines about how Leto was so in-character in DC’s upcoming villain-focused flick that Will Smith says he’s never even met the real Jared Leto. However, that’s a bit of a loose interpretation of Smith’s actual words. During a radio interview on Beats 1, host Zane Lowe suggested that maybe Leto was so deep in his method acting that Smith didn’t really know him that well, but Smith’s actual response was,

[Suicide Squad] is insane. […] I’ve never actually met Jared Leto. We worked together for six months, and we’ve never exchanged a word outside of “action” and “cut.” We’ve never said, “Hello.” We’ve never said, “Good day.” I’ve only ever spoken to him as Deadshot and him as the Joker. I literally have not met him yet.

So, the first time I see him will be, “Hey, Jared, what’s up?”


Not a single word exchanged off-camera. He was all-in on the Joker.

So Will Smith wasn’t walking around the Suicide Squad set talking to Jared Leto and receiving nothing but maniacal laughter and menacing remarks in return. They didn’t get to speak to each other when the camera wasn’t rolling. He’s never had a conversation with Leto that wasn’t scripted, so he literally hasn’t met him. If Leto were having conversations with people in-character as the Joker off-camera, Will Smith wouldn’t have experienced it firsthand, and that’s not what he’s talking about. This is less an anecdote about method acting and more about the intensity of working on a blockbuster comic book movie—the actors are so hard at work that they might not even know each other off-camera.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. You can watch for yourself below and draw your own conclusions (relevant bit begins at 15:43):

So please, Internet, stop using this as a reason to prop Jared Leto up as a method acting genius. I’m not saying he’s not, and I’m very much looking forward to this movie, but there’s enough hype surrounding comic book movies that we don’t have to start making stuff up. Leto’s done enough unsettling things in the name of method acting and hardly needs our encouragement.

(via Complex, image via Warner Bros.)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.