Jared Leto is infamous for really getting "into" roles. While they seem to be downplaying it now, he certainly got into the role of the Joker for Suicide Squad. In a new interview with The Wall Street Journal, it sounds like Leto got into his role of Niander Wallace to the extreme.
It sounds like that is what director Denis Villeneuve wanted, though, if his comments to the Journal are anything to go by:
Denis Villeneuve, the director of the new film, says the inspiration for Leto's character was David Bowie. "I needed a very charismatic, magnetic presence, someone with the aura of a rock star," Villeneuve says. "But I also needed a great actor, because the lines he had to say were quite Shakespearean." The character is also blind, and true to form, Leto—who once hung out with homeless junkies in Manhattan's East Village to portray a heroin addict in Requiem for a Dream—dove in head-first. "We all heard stories about Jared, how he transforms into the characters," Villeneuve says. "But even this didn't prepare me for what was to come."
Instead of doing something like meeting with a blind person and seeing how they get around, or watching videos of blind people interacting in the world, Leto had to take a mile when production gave him an inch.
Not content to simply act blind, Leto decided to become blind, ordering customized contact lenses that made his eyes totally opaque. "He entered the room, and he could not see at all," Villeneuve recalls. "He was walking with an assistant, very slowly. It was like seeing Jesus walking into a temple. Everybody became super silent, and there was a kind of sacred moment. Everyone was in awe. It was so beautiful and powerful—I was moved to tears. And that was just a camera test!"
Villenueve has worked with some fantastic actors over the course of his movies, so that's some high praise for Leto. It's just hilarious that you read a story about Jared Leto blinding himself for a role and your first thought is "Yeah, sure, business as usual." The man knows to create headlines, if nothing else.
Summary: Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. K's discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.
Blade Runner 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve, stars Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas, Robin Wright, and Jared Leto. It will be released on October 6th.