Jared Leto Blinded Himself For The Shoot
To prepare himself for playing the vision impaired villain in the eagerly anticipated Blade Runner 2049, Jared Leto decided to spend the whole shoot blind. Of course, the actor is no stranger to intense bouts of method acting, and this isn’t the first time he’s gone to extremes to get into character.
Most famously there were reports of his behavior during the filming of Suicide Squad, where he stayed in character the entire shoot, refused to answer to his own name or spend time hanging out with the cast and sent them some very unusual “gifts.” He also gained over sixty pounds to play Mark David Chapman in biopic Chapter 27, a process that left him with gout and having to use a wheelchair to deal with the sudden weight gain on his body.
Leto was no less committed when preparing to play blind bad guy Niander Wallace in Blade Runner 2049, revealing in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that he wore special contacts lenses that rendered him blind for the shoot. The actor’s dedication hugely impressed director Denis Villeneuve, who believes Leto’s “insane” choices created something special for the film. Leto even arrived for his first camera test completely in character, according to the filmmaker.
“He could not see at all. 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.”
A recent short film set between the events of the original and the new movie shed some light on Niander Wallace, who is a manufacturer who solved world hunger in 2025 with genetically engineered food. In the short – dubbed 2036: Nexus Dawn – Wallace is shown to be a sinister, intense figure who wants the ban on replicants lifted by government officials, and sacrifices one of his replicated beings to them to prove they pose no danger to humanity.
Leto received good reviews for his eerie performance in the short, but only time will tell if he’ll live up to the iconic status of Rutger Hauer’s Roy Batty from the original. That said, it feels like anticipation for this long awaited sequel couldn’t be much higher. It’s always risky to follow up a stone cold classic like Blade Runner, but everything from the director, the cast, the storyline and the gorgeous visuals indicate Blade Runner 2049 will be a more than worthy sequel.
- Padraig Cotter