Much has been made of Jared Leto’s tendency to go method for his roles. He has not only dropped and gained an unhealthy amount of weight, but also famously abused his “Suicide Squad” cast mates with a variety of gifts, too.
So when the Academy Award winner was tasked with playing Niander Wallace in Denis Villeneuve’s “Blade Runner 2049” opposite Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, and with the legendary Roger Deakins working as its cinematographer, Leto was always going to go to the extreme to get the best out of his performance.
It recently emerged that Leto did just that by wearing contact lenses that made him blind, a process that Villeneuve previously admitted made him weep in appreciation. I recently had the opportunity to speak to Leto about his preparation and process for “Blade Runner 2049,” but the actor was rather tentative about his efforts at first.
“It was just leaning on the script,” Leto originally insisted. “I had a great partner in Denis. You rehearse, you research, you explore, you experiment, you become part investigator, part researcher, you let your imagination wander, and you experiment.”
Of course, what I really wanted to talk to Leto about was his decision to go blind. So following this rather coy answer, I asked him straight out about the contacts and why he decided to go down this route.
“Yeah, I had contacts,” Leto finally confessed. “That was something I did. If I was a better actor I might have just started acting. But it is really hard to just act blind. You know what the fun thing about it is when you really can’t see. Number one it is efficient, and rather than putting your energy into [not seeing] you can put your energy into other things, because we only have so much creative energy at a given moment. That’s a fringe benefit.”
“But another thing about it is you start to make mistakes. You as an actor might think, ‘I’m talking to you here, and I’m acting blind and doing all this.’ But you don’t realize you are totally off your mark. But that’s great. So you have some subtle happy accidents as a result of you doing that. And it helps create an environment on set. It is an illusion. It is a little magic. It was a great experience.”
Leto also admitted that the everyone on the “really awesome set was fun [and] supportive” of his process, too. Or at least that’s what they told him to his face. They could have easily just had their fingers crossed and he wouldn't have known.
You can finally get to see if Jared Leto going blind was worth the hassle when “Blade Runner 2049” is released on October 6.