28/07/2016 09:21 BST | Updated 28/07/2016 12:38 BST

Jared Leto Honours Heath Ledger's Performance As The Joker, As He Takes On Role In 'Suicide Squad'

'It’s one of the best performances ever in cinema.'

Jared Leto has honoured Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker, ahead of his debut as the comic book character in ‘Suicide Squad’. 

The actor claimed the late Heath’s incarnation of the Batman villain was “one of the best performances ever in cinema”, as he discussed following in his footsteps during an interview with Rolling Stone magazine

Jared Leto plays The Joker in 'Suicide Squad'

Heath died shortly after filming his role as The Joker in 2008’s ‘The Dark Knight’, later winning a posthumous Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. 

“Heath did an impeccable, perfect performance as the Joker,” Jared said.

“It’s one of the best performances ever in cinema. I had met Heath before. I didn’t know him well, but he was a beautiful person.”

Heath Leger took on the role in 'The Dark Knight'

Jared also admitted he was initially hesitant about succeeding Heath in the role, but The Joker’s long past of being played by other actors - including Jack Nicholson in the 1989 film ‘Batman’ - convinced him to do it. 

“I think had it only been portrayed by Heath and it was never a comic book, maybe I would have felt that would be inappropriate,” he explained. 

“But I thought that given the history, it was OK. The good thing about other people having done this is that you know what direction not to head in.”

'Suicide Squad' is released next month

Jared stars in ‘Suicide Squad’ alongside the likes of Margot Robbie and Will Smith, who take on the roles of fellow comic book baddies Harley Quinn and Deadshot respectively. 

The film is slated for release on 5 August. 

Read the full interview with Jared Leto in the new issue of Rolling Stone, on sale now. 

Rolling Stone

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