This story will get into spoilers for John Lee Hancock’s new thriller The Little Things, so stop reading now if you haven’t yet seen the HBO Max movie.
Three powerful performers carry The Little Things, a whodunit crime thriller currently streaming on HBO Max, though one of the three is far more the Wild Card. While the movie does what it can to avoid the noticeable tropes of the detective genre, Denzel Washington does personify a grizzled, battle-tested cop who has dark skeletons from former cases in his closet, and Rami Malek plays the buttoned-up, by-the-book, hotshot young detective who doesn’t think he needs veteran help to solve a new series of grisly crimes.
The wild card is Jared Leto, a third leg of this dramatic triangle who is playing all different angles in the story. He might be a legitimate suspect. Or he might be someone who is obsessed with True Crime narratives, and tries to insert himself into them, even if it distracts detectives from an actual crime. This can be a very complicated tightrope to walk, and when The Little Things writer/director John Lee Hancock came on CinemaBlend’s own ReelBlend podcast, he told us that Leto almost doubted himself and his performance.
John Lee Hancock told ReelBlend:
Everybody’s fantastic in the movie, but Jared is so outside the box and gives a different flavor to the movie once he arrives on scene. Jared, at one point in post, when I was doing my director's cut, he texted me and said, ‘Don't let me ruin your movie. Anything I'm not good in, just cut that scene.’ And I said, ‘I wish I had more scenes, Jared.’ We even thought about adding one more scene where we could introduce him a tad earlier, but then looking at it, I thought, ‘I don't know. I think it maybe makes him more memorable, the fact that you wait for him.’ It’s not formulaic and traditional. Like, at the end of the first act, here's this guy, you know? … There’s not a scene that Jared shot that was cut.
Jared Leto worried about ruining the movie. Ironically, his performance instead is generating raves, and getting him some awards buzz. Two pre-Oscar bellweathers singled Jared Leto out for his turn in The Little Things, including the Screen Actors Guild and the Golden Globes, both of which nominated the actor for Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role. Not only did his performance not ruin the movie, Hancock wishes that he had more Let footage to play with.
It’s interesting to hear the director mention that they entertained the idea of introducing Jared Leto’s character earlier. It is a good hour before the Oscar winner shows up in The Little Things, and since the marketing materials tell us he’s in the movie, you do stop to think, “Who is Leto playing in this film?” Of course, once he arrives, he takes over the story and bounces off of Denzel Washington and Rami Malek beautifully. Listen to the whole interview with John Lee Hancock on ReelBlend right now:
The Little Things is currently streaming on HBO Max, and also is available in limited theatrical release, so long as theaters are operating safely in your market.