Leprechaun Returns Star Was Inspired By Heath Ledger’s Joker

After 2014’s Leprechaun: Origins brought joy to no one, the popular and surprisingly durable little murderer now takes another swing at a franchise reboot with Leprechaun Returns, which seems a little more geared to pleasing longtime fans of the horror comedy series but with at least one notable change.

Stepping into the well-polished shoes that were long filled by Warwick Davis will be Channel Zero’s Linden Porco, who recently shed some light on his approach to playing the devious, gold-hungry villain in a conversation with Slasher Radio Podcast. Apparently Porco didn’t feel a strong need to recreate the performance that Davis brought to the first six Leprechaun films, telling the podcast, “I think everything in this movie is my own.” He did, however, cite the influence of another famous movie psycho:

I modeled it actually after… you know The Dark Knight?… with Heath Ledger…as soon as I thought of the Leprechaun, I thought of the Joker. So I sort of modeled the Leprechaun after that. Heath Ledger was absolutely outstanding in that movie. I just sort of modeled it after him a little bit. And put my own spin on it as well. I’m pretty happy with my performance in it.

It’s hardly an unusual source of inspiration for a gleefully malevolent killer. Echoes of Ledger’s iconic portrayal can be seen in everyone from Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice to Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise in It, so why not horror’s favorite plucky little Irish monster too?

Though previous instalments in the series have seen the Leprechaun find fresh victims anywhere from ‘the hood’ to outer space, the new flick’s synopsis suggests that he’ll be upping his body count in that most classic of slasher movie settings, a sorority house.

The film picks up 25 years after the events of the 1993 original, which found a maniacal Leprechaun doing whatever it takes (including committing gruesome murder) to track down his stolen pot of gold. Leprechaun Returns finds the leprechaun revived in the modern day when a group of sorority girls unwittingly awaken him while tearing down a cabin to build a new sorority house.

Leprechaun Returns is set to premiere in March 2019 on Syfy.