Blade Runner 2049 is shaping up to be one of the most interesting movies of the fall season. There is certainly a good deal of excitement surrounding the long-awaited sequel to Ridley Scott’s original sci-fi masterpiece, but can the sequel succeed at the box office? That remains to be seen, but we do know that the cast is stacked, which won’t hurt anything. Oscar-winner Jared Leto is among the cast and he is known for his intense acting methods, but he may have outdone himself this time. It turns out he did the entire thing blind.
Director Denis Villeneuve recently spoke with The Wall Street Journal about Blade Runner 2049 and, specifically, Jared Leto’s performance. Leto plays a character named Niander Wallace, who makes replicants and appears to be the movie’s villain, so to speak. The character also happens to be blind and Leto felt the need to wear contacts that actually blinded him to play the part. Here’s what Villeneuve had to say about it.
“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.”
Blade Runner 2049 is set thirty years after the events of the first movie, even though it is actually happening 35 years after the fact. The sequel centers on a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), who unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. His discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years. The mystery is far from over once Deckard is found by K, as the two team up to figure out what is really going on. Which definitely involves Jared Leto’s Niander Wallace.
This is a pretty surprising bit of dedication to a role. Spending an entire shoot blind is surely beyond what many actors would be willing to do. But Jared Leto is not most actors. During Suicide Squad, he stayed in character as The Joker and did some rather unsavory things during production. Namely, he sent used condoms to his castmates and refused to answer to his actual name. He also gained more than sixty pounds to play Mark David Chapman in the biopic Chapter 27 about the man who shot John Lennon.
All things considered, it isn’t shocking that Jared Leto was blind for the production of Blade Runner 2049. It is a little shocking in general that someone is so dedicated to their craft. Whether or not that dedication translates to another Oscar-worthy performance as it did in Dallas Buyers Club remains to be seen, but Leto has at least, once again, proved that he is one of the most interesting artists working today. Blade Runner 2049 is set to arrive in theaters on October 6.