Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie): The Superstar

All of the Suicide Squad team members have their fans, but the only one who’s really a household name is Harley Quinn. Which is why it’s a little surprising it’s taken so long to bring her into live-action movies. But for Robbie, that may be a blessing:

I’m fortunate to be the first to do it because no one has set the bar remarkably high like they have with Joker, for example. So in that sense it is easier but I’m accurately aware of the fact that there is a massive fan base and I don’t want to disappoint anyone. So it’s terrifying, but like I said, it’s nice to be the first one to do it.

Ayer also sounded thrilled to be the guy who finally gets to put Harley Quinn on the big screen:

She’s freaking cool. She represents so many dichotomies in today’s world where everything is so sensitive and you can’t talk about anything or represent anything and you can’t do anything. She doesn’t care. She transcends everything. That’s what is so fascinating about her. She’s so many things, and such a powerful woman who is living life on her own terms and so honestly in the moment. And, a person who has an incredible joy in the moment. It’s great to be able to work with that character. Margot is kicking her out of the park.

Not surprisingly, Harley Quinn is one of the characters who gets a lot of backstory in the movie, especially as it pertains to Joker. That includes the the “chemical wedding” that cemented their bond and permanently turned Harleen Quinzel into Harley Quinn. “They’re almost like two alpha males, you know?” said Hawley. “They’re like Natural Born Killers, they’re like Sid and Nancy. In this world they’re like Punch and Judy, you know, there’s a very physical element to them.”

By now, we’re already well aware that the Suicide Squad version of Harley Quinn looks very different from the earlier versions — she doesn’t have her signature jester costume, for one thing. Hawley revealed that although they’d tested the costume, they ultimately went in a different direction. But keep your eye out for a little Easter egg. According to Hawley, there’s a moment in the film that winks at Harley Quinn’s other outfits:

There’s a wonderful scene in the film where […] they get given their mission outfits out of Belle Reve en route to this mission they’re on. And there’s a delightful scene, they’re all putting on their “murdering suits” as they call them, because when they put them on, people die. And Harley’s sitting there and you’ll see a moment where she’s pulling out all her corsets, so we quote every comic variation of her. It’s her dress-up box. I’m sure that Jester suit’s gonna come into it because none of us can leave it alone.

SUICIDE SQUAD - Jared Leto as Joker

Joker (Jared Leto): The King

Similarly, it is no secret that Leto’s Joker (who is not part of the Suicide Squad) is not much like the last iconic big-screen version played by Heath Ledger. Ayer acknowledged that creating a new Joker was a challenge, but predicted Leto’s version would be “nothing short of a revelation.”

You want to talk about the third rail of comic book movies. When you have someone as talented as Jared – and then I think when you accept that Heath happened and The Dark Knight happened – you just move forward. We’re the oldest, most well-known villains in modern culture. To leave him fallow, I think would be a shame. We instantly know who he is. We know how he makes us feel. We know how he’s going to behave. Just one little drawn picture of him, and a character that fantastically iconic and powerful, almost emerges by itself. Once you start touching that character and playing with that character, he really does reveal himself in a lot of ways.

In contrast to the ragged version we saw in The Dark Knight, Suicide Squad’s Joker will be slicker, more glamorous, more business-oriented. As Suckle described him:

He’s a business man. He’s crazy of course, and he kills people, but he’s super right. He’s running a business. If you could imagine the head of any successful corporation, he runs his business that way. He just happens to be a psychopath. He’s very, very conscientious of his business and he’s also very conscientious of the way he dresses. Style is a really big part of this Joker. It would be important to him to know what next year’s Prada would be like because he may want to have it a year before everybody else. He sets trends and that’s a really cool character and I really think you haven’t seen the version of this Joker ever before, and of course there have been great people and great versions of the character.

To that end, Ayer and Hawley looked to Mexican drug cartel leaders, mimicking their ostentatious glamour and bling-heavy style, and put the character in Yves Saint Laruent-style suits with bare feet. Hawley cited Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo’s Joker as references for the look of Leto’s Joker.

Another signature of Leto’s Joker is his giant ring, almost like a papal ring, that he makes people kiss. And then, of course, there are those tattoos. Joker isn’t the only Suicide Squad character to sport them, but his got extra attention after that first still of the Joker was released. Suckle revealed that a Toronto artist named Rob Coutts was the one who’d designed all the characters’ tattoos.

Finally, we can’t talk about Leto’s Joker without mentioning Leto’s Method Joker antics. The actor reportedly stayed in character the whole time, even when he was in his trailer or sending emails, and largely isolated himself from the rest of the cast and crew. “When Jared came we had to defer to him as Mister J or Mister Smiley,” Hawley told us. But Robbie assured us Leto hadn’t completely given himself over to the DC madman:

Yeah, he’s kind of terrifying. He’s really lovely, though. He’s very conscientious on set. He’s not completely lost in the character that he’s violent or anything. Between every take he asks if I’m okay, blah, blah, blah. So when I first heard that he was Method, and that we couldn’t refer to him as Jared and things like that, I started to panic a bit because I’m in an abusive relationship with this guy who thinks he is the character. I was worried I’d get beat up on set. But he’s respectful, professional, and lovely. It is so incredible to watch him work because it is a really bizarre process and kind of fascinating. It’s not a process that would work for me but I can see the way he does it and it clearly works for him. It’s cool.


Suicide Squad opens August 5.

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