Jared Leto's Joker in 'Suicide Squad' Is Inspired by Mexican Cartel Leaders

The latest take on the Joker reportedly draws inspiration from "Mexican cartel leaders."

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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The Joker may look like the frontman of a short-lived straight edge hardcore band, but that doesn't mean he's a total square. In fact, as revealed in Collider's fresh list of 55 things to know about next month's Suicide Squad, the latest take on the classic DC character draws a fair amount of inspiration from "bespoke Mexican cartel leaders."

Though jaded conspiracy theorists would probably try to convince you otherwise, the studio and related Powers That Be are not the reason for Joker's inclusion in Suicide Squad. Director David Ayer "really wanted to include Joker" in the film, even working closely alongside star Jared Leto to put their own spin on the character. Though Squad's Joker was originally intended to don that classic purple suit, Leto's method acting evolution ultimately steered Ayer and the production toward something a bit more ink-friendly.

To really bring Leto's interpretation home, Ayer intentionally kept the part-time 30 Seconds to Mars singer isolated from the rest of the cast to keep the animosity vibes brewing:

"Ayer admitted that he had been keeping Leto separate from the rest of the cast during production in order to further enhance their performances, and given how intensely he worked with Leto during the development of the character, he was able to direct Leto/Joker on set using a verbal shorthand."

Inspired by "bespoke Mexican cartel leaders" and prone to stringent isolation methods? Sounds like a damn good Joker to me. But that's not all that our pals at Collider learned from their visit to the Squad set. As Ayer revealed in a chat with Adam Chitwood, the grittiness of classic '70s movies helped shape the tone of the highly anticipated film.

"Part of what we’re doing, our references are '70s movies, like Prince of the City [and] Serpico," Ayer toldCollider. "We're using an older series of anamorphic lenses. We're after an old-school look, which I think … You're taking a subject matter which is exceptional unto itself, and then photographing in a way that's very naturalistic and real. I think it has the effect of bringing them into our world."

Suicide Squad hits theaters with its Serpico vibes Aug. 5. No word yet on The Joker's inevitable Minor Threat tribute album.

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