When you’re following in the footsteps of Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, this is no small challenge, even when you’re Oscar-winning actor Jared Leto.

Leto, who will play the Joker in the upcoming movie Suicide Squad, told Entertainment Weekly that one of his main goals for the part was to put his own spin on the super villain previously played by both Nicholson and Ledger.  

“You just knew you had to do something different. You had to make it your own,” Leto said. “That happens all the time…Directors take on great works of cinema, actors reinterpret roles, that’s been going on for a great deal of time. From Scarface to Hamlet. In some ways it’s really interesting to reinterpret, redefine.”

The actor added that he doesn’t take this role lightly. In fact, he’s very mindful of the mantle he’s inheriting.

“The work that’s been done on this character by so many people before me has been so impactful, so incredible, so much fun, so profound, so risky, that it’s a very special thing to be asked to take on that responsibility,” Leto added.

The actor will be joined by a superstar cast in Suicide Squad including Viola Davis, Ben Affleck, Margot Robbie and Will Smith. The film, which was written and directed by David Ayer (Training Day), is set for an August 5 release.

David Eckstein is a writer living in Los Angeles.