Cubist make-up and rococo overplay have become his trademark. Jared Leto dares everything, even bizarre superheroism. Like in Morbius, where he becomes a vampire while searching for a cure for his blood disease.
What does acting mean to you?
Oh… Uh… (He stares into space, thinks. Endless silence). It’s very tempting to answer bullshit! But thank you for making me think about this, it’s an important question (His gaze goes back into the vagueness, we wonder if he forgot what we asked him).
Maybe I shouldn’t have started with that!
No, no, you did well (New silence, long seconds pass, we check if the Zoom has not frozen). At best, acting is… Hmm. It’s art. At worst, it’s totally insignificant. But for me, personally, it is above all a quest strewn with pitfalls. Because if you put aside the purely creative aspect, then it’s just a matter of struggling to create the opportunities that will allow you to be able to play interesting roles. And that’s probably the hardest part of the job.
Your vision of the game could be summed up in method acting a little extreme, with a lot of exaggeration, extravagance, even grotesque…
I’m not afraid to be extravagant, it’s the right formula. But that’s because I see extravagance everywhere in real life. I could very well come across someone with their hair on fire on the streets of New York, it wouldn’t seem totally surreal to me. On the other hand, put that in a movie and people will say: Anything, it would never happen in reality. »
Uh, little chance of that happening anyway, right?
I grant you that, but you get the idea…
Yes, yes… Hardly anyone dares what you do in Hollywood anymore. Is it also a way of regaining power over creation, of rebelling?
I don’t really have a grievance against Hollywood. It’s linked to something more intimate, to a vision of the profession. Quentin Tarantino once said to one of his actors who was worried about being “too much”: ” In my films, you can’t be too much. ” He is right. I can no longer see actors posing near the camera and whispering for an hour and a half. I do not care. I like to explore the extremes of human behavior. Sometimes that means being perfectly silent, and sometimes it means being really quiet. The intimate and the extraordinary. That’s exciting.
And the consequence is that you are a polarizing actor…
I don’t give a fuck to be honest. I can only promise you one thing: I will never be boring. At this point in my life and career, I’m trying to break the mould. I feel compelled to make strong choices. To create a breach, to move the lines. Otherwise, I don’t see what it’s for. I don’t give a fuck about having the best smile in Hollywood.
What attracted you to the character of Morbius?
It was a perfect role for me because I’m playing a guy on the verge of death who then regains his health. He then becomes super strong, before turning into a monster. Wow: that makes some stuff to play! I like the idea of being able to breathe that into a popcorn movie. I have no problem with commercial films as long as they are well done. It can even be a transformative experience for the viewer. I grew up in a time when you could live doing nothing but independent films. That’s over. What’s coming out in theaters today is pure entertainment. And it’s very nice, but I always try to go further than what is offered to me. What interests me is the creation of a life on screen. Like sculpture, but with my body and my mind.
In your eyes, the roles are more important than the films?
I would say yes. I’m very focused when I do this stuff. I’m in my bubble and it’s an extremely rewarding process. I find myself in the Peter Sellers, the Daniel Day-Lewis, the Jack Nicholson… Actors who immerse themselves, who disappear into their roles. Nothing to do with playing lambda types. There are very, very subtle actors that I love as a viewer, but that’s not what turns me on, sorry.
Morbius, currently in cinemas. Trailer :