Between Jared Leto's work on films like Dallas Buyers Club and Suicide Squad, the Thirty Seconds to Mars frontman and Oscar-winner has continuously gone to borderline insane lengths to make his characters come to life. With Blade Runner 2049 poised to debut in theaters next month, it looks like he has done it again, as director Denis Villeneuve recently revealed that Leto intentionally blinded himself with cloudy contact lenses to sell his character, Niander Wallace, and used an assistant to physically navigate the set. Villeneuve said:
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.
The reason for those lenses is rooted in the mythology of the Blade Runner universe itself. Those opaque contacts give the wearer's eyes a pale gray tint -- which is a telltale sign of a "replicant." Leto's Niander Wallace (a replicant himself) has been described as a brilliant, ruthless scientist who creates the synthetic androids, which remain banned on Earth because of their strength, speed, and the danger they pose to humans. Blinding oneself may seem a bit extreme, but then again, Leto has the tall order of stacking up against Blade Runner's Rutger Hauer's Roy Batty as the sequel's main antagonist. Every little bit of effort counts, and it seems like Leto put in a lot of effort from the very beginning, as the above was happening before shooting even began during the camera test.
This level of commitment may not come as a surprise to many of you, as Jared Leto's history of going full method for his roles has become fairly well-documented in recent years. Blinding himself arguably might not be quite as disturbing as sending dead animals and used condoms to his co-stars (which he reportedly did on the set of Suicide Squad), but it still shows a fierce level of discipline and willingness to envelope oneself in character. The use of contacts to create this effect is not uncommon in filmmaking (it was frequently used on Game of Thrones), but on a production with ample availability of CGI, it's intriguing that Leto opted for the more practical route.
We all heard stories about Jared, how he transforms into the characters, but even this didn't prepare me for what was to come.
Blade Runner 2049 catches up with the world created by Ridley Scott in 1982 and presents us with a future that arguably looks even bleaker than the original. The story centers on Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a Blade Runner for the LAPD who unearths a mysterious secret and goes on to find original Blade Runner hero (and possible replicant) Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who has been missing for the last three decades.
Blade Runner 2049 will hit theaters on October 6, 2017. If you're excited about the long-awaited sequel, let us know in the comments below!