Everyone’s getting excited about Blade Runner 2049 at the moment. The movie’s trailers, promotional campaign, and funky prequel anime all look really solid, suggesting that maybe, just maybe, we’ll get a follow-up to the original film that will do the story justice.
If there’s a weak link in all this, it’s Jared Leto, doing his usual thing of taking everything way too seriously. In order to create a believable performance as the blind “villain” (we’ll see whether there’s a third act plot twist in this movie) Wallace, Leto blinded himself on-set with opaque contact lenses.
Good for you, Jared Leto. You’re so dedicated to being good at acting that you’ll literally blind yourself.
Of course, this means that you’re not actually acting. Charlie Cox eschewed similar contacts when he became Daredevil when he realized that it’s more professional to just, you know, act like you’re blind. Sticking junk onto your eyeballs in order to be more convincingly blind merely proves that Jared Leto doubts his ability to avoid eye contact with his costars.
It’s easy to rag on Leto by this point, and maybe it’s a bit mean to keep using him as a Hollywood punching bag just because he insists on mailing used condoms to his costars.
Oh, wait. That’s a horrid thing to do to people you’re supposed to be working with. On second thoughts, Leto definitely deserves all the hate that can be thrown at him for making everyone around him miserable whenever he’s trying to do some “method” acting (even though method acting doesn’t actually involve anything remotely similar to this breed of nonsense).
It’s especially annoying to hear that Leto blinded himself on the set of Blade Runner 2049 when you take into account the fact that director Denis Villeneuve originally wanted a very different actor to tackle the role of Wallace.
According to Villeneuve, the initial plans for Wallace were cut short when David Bowie died:
“Our first thought [for the character] had been David Bowie, who had influenced Blade Runner in many ways. When we learned the sad news [of his passing], we looked around for someone like that.”
Damn. We could have had David Bowie as the “villain” of a Blade Runner movie. Jareth, the Goblin King, in charge of an army of replicants? That sounds way better than literally blind “method” actor Jared Leto.
That said, there is some logic to his casting.
Jared Leto is very much the modern era’s Johnny Depp – quirky, weird, with a penchant for unusual performances.
The difference is that Leto is a lot more efficient than Depp, and has progressed far quicker to the point in his career where people are sick of him, and weirded out by his mere presence on screen.
Johnny Depp is, in some ways, the perfect choice to play albino evil wizard Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – his presence makes audiences feel a little nauseous, so he’s a perfect baddie that people want to literally boo when he arrives on screen (or that might just be the shockingly horrid Scooby Doo ending of the movie).
Jared Leto, similarly, is a great choice to play a villain in a high concept sci-fi noir detective story. Nobody likes the actor, so everyone automatically views the character with suspicion. Even if (as is the case with this kind of film) it turns out that Leto isn’t actually the movie’s antagonist, his casting alone ensures that people will assume he’s the Big Bad until a plot twist occurs.
It’s some smart casting to get Jared Leto to fill the hole that David Bowie left in the project.
It’s just a shame that we won’t ever get to see what this movie could have looked like with a very different actor in one of the key lead roles.