Jared Leto’s craziest character transformations

What image comes to mind when you hear the name Jared Leto? A green-haired, tattooed madman? A bald fashion scion? A gaunt, gangrenous heroin addict? (Unless you’re a Thirty Seconds to Mars fan, in which case you might be picturing lead singer Leto insulting a member of the crowd.)

Even among the beautiful movie stars who like to work incognito — think Charlize Theron in Monster, Christian Bale in The Machinist and Vice, Colin Farrell in The Batman — 50-year-old Leto is in a class at it for himself what he will take on for his extreme makeovers on screen. In his latest film, Marvel’s “Morbius”, Leto takes on the role of Dr. Michael Morbius, a biochemist who accidentally turns into a vampire when a life-saving experiment goes awry.

Headshot by Jared Leto
Leto takes method acting to the next level.
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY/Sipa

“I was scared for Jared,” said the film’s director, Daniel Espinosa. has said. “He’s really committed. You have to be careful there.”

Now that Daniel Day-Lewis has retiredLeto just might be Hollywood’s preeminent shape-shifting actor. Read on for a timeline of his wildest role transformations and what he did to achieve them.

“Requiem for a Dream” (2000)

Jared Leto and Jennifer Connelly will be there "Requiem for a Dream"
The role of a heroin addict in Requiem for a Dream led to Leto losing weight and hanging out with downtown drug users for research.
Getty Images

Darren Aronofsky’s nightmare thriller about addiction starred Leto as Harry Goldfarb, a young man from Brooklyn who becomes a heroin addict along with his girlfriend (played by Jennifer Connelly) and best friend (Marlon Wayans). Although he’s appeared in a number of films, including Prefontaine and Fight Club, this is where Leto first truly explored extreme transformation.

Leto said he lost significant weight for the role and spent time hanging out with junkies in downtown New York. “I did everything I thought I could to bring more authenticity and honesty to the role … So I spent time with a group of people in the East Village, many of whom are no longer alive — they’ve lost their battles with addictions.” They were very supportive and helpful and generous with their time and experiences and there were nights I was basically homeless,” Leto said said Vulture for an oral history of the film in 2020.

The weight loss, he carefully emphasized, “was my idea, and I thought it would be physically appropriate given the circumstances, given my own personal experiences with addiction and addicts [the character would] be in this place. I also thought that losing a lot of weight and restricting my food intake would put me in a place of constant cravings. I thought that would be a good place.”

‘Chapter 27’ (2007)

Jared Leto and Lindsay Lohan will be there "Chapter 27."
To play Mark David Chapman, Leto gained so much weight so quickly that he developed gout.
Peace Arch Films/Courtesy of Everet

Seven years later, Leto swerved wildly the other way to play Mark David Chapman, the man who killed John Lennon. The actor has said he gained 62 pounds playing the killer (although some reports have put it at 67 pounds), partly due Drink chocolate ice cream from the microwave mixed with olive oil and soy sauce. He also got sick from gaining weight so quickly, he said. “I got gout and my cholesterol was rising so fast in such a short time that my doctors wanted to prescribe me Lipitor, which is for people much, much older,” Leto told the Guardian in 2014. On accepting the role, Leto said: “I had some reservations because I love everything John Lennon has ever done. But in the end I wanted to explore a specimen that embodies the total failure of humanity, just walk this brutal path.”

“Dallas Buyers Club” (2013)

Leto lost over 40 pounds for his role as a transgender HIV-positive woman on the Dallas Buyers Club.
© Focus Features/Courtesy of EVERET

Leto returned to losing weight for his role as transgender, HIV-positive character Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club. It was a transformation that earned him the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. “I lost about 40 pounds and then stopped counting,” he said said the guard. “For me, it was about how I feel about how other people treat me. I got down to about 114 pounds and that was enough to do what I wanted, which was to change everything about me.

He also sought out and spoke to transgender people, which he said at the time “was the education and the beginning of everything. I’m really grateful for that experience.” He stayed in character throughout the shoot. “Every morning when I got out of the van that took us to the set, I always had my heels on,” he said Weekly entertainment.

‘Suicide Squad’ (2016)

Jared Leto as Joker in "suicide squad."
To play the role of the Joker in 2016’s ‘Suicide Squad,’ Leto stayed in character throughout filming and reportedly gave his castmates disgusting gifts.
© Warner Bros./Courtesy of Everett C

When Leto slipped into the iconic role of the Joker in Suicide Squad (not to be confused with 2021’s The Suicide Squad), it fitted perfectly with his obsessive brand of always immersing himself in characters. But his approach to the role wasn’t well-received by all of his castmates. “He did some bad things, Jared Leto did it. He’s given some really awful gifts,” Viola Davis said Vanity Fair. “He had a henchman who came into the rehearsal room and the henchman came in with a dead pig and put it on the table and then he walked out. And that was our introduction to Jared Leto.”

Margot Robbie, who played his love interest Harley Quinn, received a live rat, which she kept. And Leto also joked with E! that he had sent used condoms and anal beads to “everyone” in the cast, but clarified later that was “total bulls-t”.

‘Blade Runner 2049’ (2017)

Jared Leto as Niander Wallace in "Bladerunner 2049."
On the set of Blade Runner 2049, Leto wore contact lenses that made it almost impossible for him to see anything.
© Warner Bros./Courtesy of Everett C

A year later, Leto played sinister GM food magnate Niander Wallace in Blade Runner 2049. To play the blind character, he insisted on wearing milky contact lenses, which really obscured his vision. “He couldn’t see anything at all. He walked very slowly with an assistant,” said director Denis Villeneuve said the Wall Street Journal. “It was like seeing Jesus walking into a temple. Everyone went super quiet and there was a kind of sacred moment. Everyone was in awe. It was so beautiful and powerful – I was moved to tears.”

Still, the blind Leto admitted he missed some career milestones on that set. “All my scenes were with Harrison Ford and I didn’t see him once,” he told Jimmy Fallon.

‘House of Gucci’ (2021)

Jared Leto as Paolo Gucci
Leto wore prosthetics and went bald to become Paolo Gucci in House of Gucci.
©MGM/Courtesy of Everett Collectio

To play Paolo Gucci, the flamboyant eccentric in Ridley Scott’s sprawling 2021 family drama, Leto turned to prosthetics to transform himself into a chubby, balding Italian fashion designer with a chip on his shoulder. The actor was bald plus eight prosthetic pieces — and demanded that the hours-long application process take place off-set so that he could arrive on set in his role. “I did everything. In the middle of this movie I snorted lines of arrabbiata sauce. I had olive oil for blood. That was a deep dive I did.” he said to Vice. “Bringing Paolo to life was like delivering a bowling ball out of my sphincter.”

‘We Crashed’ (2022)

Anne Hathaway and Jared Leto will be there "We crashed"
Leto used special effects makeup for a “subtle” transformation in “WeCrashed”.

Leto went straight from House of Gucci to WeCrashed, the Apple TV+ series about Adam Neumann, the charismatic, disgraced CEO of WeWork. With just a week between productions, Leto dove back into the role and, according to his co-stars, didn’t reappear until filming wrapped. “He’s no slob, that Jared Leto,” Anne Hathaway said Entertainment Tonight. “He came to play as Adam and I met him as [his wife] Rebekah.” She also told Men’s Health couldn’t name him “Jared”. during the shoot.

To master Neumann’s distinctive voice, Leto hired a team of five Israelis to help him improve his accent. And he worked with special effects artist and prosthetics expert Kazu Hiro to develop Neumann’s look, including darkening his naturally blue eyes. “This is a painting, not a photograph,” says Leto said enigmatically, in an interview earlier this month about trying to evoke Neumann. “We did our best to bring an impression of this person to the screen. And yes, we had our tricks of the trade.”

‘Morbius’ (2022)

Jared Leto as the vampire Michael Morbius
Leto stayed in his role as the sickly patient who became a living vampire in “Morbius.”
©Sony Pictures/Courtesy of Everett

In Leto’s latest role, he plays Marvel’s “living vampire,” Spider-Man’s nemesis Morbius.

His scientist character goes from terribly sickly to overpowered after a transfusion of vampire bat DNA – a transformation perfectly suited to Leto’s penchant for extreme physical immersion, as the actress who plays his partner noted from his hunched, twisted posture. “I remember being scared for this guy’s spine. There should have been a physical therapist on call,” his co-star Adria Arjona said variety. Leto even met with doctors and patients associated with the type of rare blood disorder Morbius suffers from. Espinosa said Leto completely gone: “I almost never saw him in the role, it was more like Michael Morbius was on the set. The moment he would step out of his trailer, it wouldn’t be Jared Leto anymore, and he wouldn’t want to be addressed as Jared Leto. He’s a very dedicated actor.”

No matter how the film performs – and it is get some critical dents – Leto has confessed that he will miss the character, as he does all. “To me, they’re like living, breathing people,” he told Variety. “Of course I know they’re not, but I’m attached. It’s a shame never to do it again.”

https://nypost.com/article/jared-leto-craziest-character-transformations/ Jared Leto’s craziest character transformations

Dais Johnston

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