Oscar-winning actor Jared Leto has gained a certain amount of infamy for his method acting habits ever since news of his preparations for playing Joker in Suicide Squad hit the media. To properly embody the Clown Prince of Crime’s chaotic energy, Leto mailed a dead pig, a live rat and condoms to his castmates. Leto will next be seen alongside Rami Malek and Denzel Washington in The Little Things. In an interview with USA Today, Washington was asked if Leto tried any method acting tricks in his presence, to which the veteran actor answered firmly in the negative.
“He didn’t do any of that with me. Nah. He’d have been paid a visit. That wouldn’t happen.”
Suicide Squad was not the only time Leto’s method acting work provoked a strong response. For Requiem for a Dream, the actor lost 28 pounds and lived on the streets to feel like a drug addict. For Chapter 27, he gained 67 pounds in a staggering transformation that Leto confesses might have permanently damaged his body. In a previous interview with Variety, Jared Leto had explained that his own experience with method acting was predicated on a desire to give the best performance possible.
“I appreciate the term [method acting], I think it’s a little cloudy, the definition. And it, it could also be really pretentious as well. I was thinking of it as my job to show up and do the best work that I can. It’s my job to show up, do whatever I can, to be overprepared. And to deliver. It’s also my job to show up and, you know, be a pleasure to work with. And, and, and, and to be collaborative, and to have a good experience on set.”
For The Little Things, working with a veteran actor like Denzel Washington who does not suffer quirky behavior gladly might have given Leto pause with regards to any extreme attempts at method acting prep on set. In the movie, Leto plays the role of a disturbing murder suspect Albert Sparma, while Washington plays Deputy Sheriff Joe Deacon who sets out to investigate a suspicious series of events regarding Sparma.
According to Washington, he did his own bit of method acting in order to get into the right frame of mind regarding his relationship with Leto’s character, which included stalking his fellow actor without his knowledge.
“I stayed away from [Leto]. He stayed away from me, respectfully so. We’d bow or nod from across the highway. Literally, one day we nodded across the highway from each other… I’d follow him around. I was outside of his apartment sometimes and he didn’t know. I won’t say anything more about it. I’ll put it this way, he didn’t know.”
Starring Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, Jared Leto, Michael Hyatt, Chris Bauer and Natalie Morales, The Little Things opens Friday, January 29 in theaters and on HBO Max. Denzel Washington quotes come from USA Today. Jared Leto’s quotes are from Variety.