Giving out used condoms and other weird deeds

Did Jared Leto (as the Joker, above) carry the jokes too far?
Did Jared Leto (as the Joker, above) carry the jokes too far?PHOTO: WARNER BROS

WASHINGTON• If your colleague mailed you a potentially used condom, that colleague would likely be fired more quickly than you can say "severe HR violation" or, more appropriately, "what?"

If you are in David Ayer's film Suicide Squad, you laugh about it on talk shows and in magazine profiles.

Stories keep mounting of the strange, dark and, at times, downright harrowing experience the filming seemed to be. It was perhaps a way to generate buzz around the film, which has been panned by critics.

Suicide Squad is gleefully dark - uncomfortably dark, really, given recent current events. Apparently attempting to draw this darkness out of his actors, Ayer encouraged them to live out the more unseemly aspects of their characters.

To make sure that did not cause any lasting damage, he kept a "kind of therapist" on set, according to Adam Beach, one of the film's actors.

"David Ayer is about realism," Beach told E! News. "So if your character is tormented, he wants you to torment yourself. He wants the real thing." That might sound like traditional press tour, pre-screening movie fodder, until you hear the actors' experience.

Jared Leto's antics, in particular, stand out as ghastly and potentially illegal. To get into character for his role as the Joker - or for some other reason - he sent his castmates a number of increasingly bizarre, disgusting items. Will Smith received a set of bullets. To Margot Robbie, he gifted a dead rat. The whole cast got a shared gift, though it was unlikely they fought over it, as it was a dead pig.

Those are not even the weird ones. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje received sticky Playboy magazines. Then, as a horrible denouement, Leto sent the rest of the cast used condoms.

"I did a lot of things to create a dynamic to create an element of surprise, a spontaneity and to really break down any kind of walls that may be there," he told E! News. "The Joker is somebody who doesn't really respect things like personal space or boundaries."

That still was not enough for Ayer, who told Yahoo! Movies that he forced his cast into fist fights with one another. "The rehearsal was very intense," he said. "It wasn't a normal rehearsal, we'd talk about their lives, their history, and really got them to open up as people to each other. I also had them fight. I had them fight each other. You learn a lot about who a person really is when you punch them in the face. It gets rid of a lot of the actor stuff."

According to Cara Delevingne, who plays Dr June Moone aka the Enchantress, Ayer also asked her to walk into the woods and strip naked if there was a full moon. She told W magazine that was exactly what she did.

Jai Courtney, meanwhile, who plays Boomerang, told Empire that he took mushrooms and proceeded to stub lit cigarettes out on his arms during a Skype video call with Ayer. And, according to website io9, AkinnuoyeAgbaje spent his time in make-up listening to tapes of Issei Sagawa, a Japanese man known for killing and eating a Dutch woman in Paris in 1981.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2016, with the headline 'Giving out used condoms and other weird deeds'. Print Edition | Subscribe