Their relationship is nothing short of tumultuous. It’s often physically and verbally abusive, but when all is reasonably well, the Harley and Joker dynamic is fascinating. This fascinating dynamic is founded on manipulation from Harley’s time as an Arkham psychologist, who in an effort to cure the Joker ended up falling in love with him. Once she adopts the court jester persona, her life becomes a rollercoaster ride. Despite everything he puts her through, she always goes back to him, loving and doting as ever. There lies the difficulty in understanding them; in an interview with Collider, Margot Robbie admits she too struggled with it.
“Yeah, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out their relationship because it’s so easy…it’s kinda like when your friend is in, like doing something stupid in a relationship, and you’re just so frustrated. You’re like, what are you doing? Why are you doing that? So it kinda feels like that when you watch it, when you’re reading comics and Harley goes back to him. And you’re just so frustrated, what are you doing? So I was like, this is really important that I understand, and I want to do the things that she does. I need to really feel like that’s how I would react in a situation. I ended up landing upon codependency as the tact to take with that. And it turns out it’s far more…It’s like a compulsion, I suppose. It’s kinda when you start looking at it the way an alcoholic is compelled, you know, needs to have a drink. When you think of it in those terms, like it’s an actual psychological problem, which codependency actually is, in really severe cases of codependency. So the more research I did, the more it made sense for me to behave the way she behaved.”
Robbie also looked into tactics used by shrinks with their patients. However, she says it was more beneficial in staying up to par with Jared Leto’s method acting.
“…I mean, yes I had to like look into that side of things, which I did and I’m just learning the basics of that and different mental illnesses, and how you recognize them or whatever. But where it became most useful is we started doing rehearsals with Jared Leto who plays Joker, and he’s a method actor. So he’s in character all the time. Because he’s got his facade up all the time, it was really hard for me to get through to him at first, I felt. So I was like, ok I really gotta take this you know, as if, I am trying to crack the Joker. And ended up looking into the MMPI testings they have. It’s kinda like a test that psychologists use to determine what mental illness people might have. It’s kinda like a list of 500 questions or something, I spent a lot of time reading those, and then whenever we had time to rehearse or improvise, or even in the scenes, I’d just start with those questions. Some of them are basic, and some of them are not. See which ones would catch him off guard, see how he’d react, and I’d be like, ok I’m gonna go for this tact now. It’s a lot of trial and error, but yeah, it was definitely interesting to do that side of things.”
Harley and Joker will finally unite on the big screen for the first time when Suicide Squad releases August 5.
Image: Warner Bros.