Jared Leto on Playing the Antihero Morbius: ‘It’s like a withdrawal process, a full body experience’ - Arts & Culture

The film’s director Daniel Espinosa says that Leto is more than an actor, he’s a colleague and partner.

“I’m attracted to roles where there’s an opportunity to transform—physical transformation, but also mental, emotional, any and all,” says Jared Leto, who is indeed renowned for his transformations.

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From his Academy Award-winning performance as Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club to his portrayal of Paolo Gucci in House of Gucci, Leto disappears into his roles, bringing characters to life in ways that can be moving, or terrifying, or enigmatic, but always unforgettable.

In Morbius, his new film based on the Marvel antihero, Leto brings all of these together for his performance as the titular character.

Dr. Michael Morbius is a brilliant doctor with a rare and fatal blood disease, who is determined to find a cure. His genius finds a way not only to cure the illness, but to give him unimaginable strength and powers, but at a terrible cost: an uncontrollable thirst for human blood.

“I played Dr. Michael Morbius from his most frail, to his most powerful, to his most monstrous,” Leto continues.

The actor says that is a lot of range there. “So that was really fun to tackle. Not only does the movie have action, stunts, and fighting, but the role itself was taxing,” Leto shares. “Whenever he is fighting the affliction, he is caught in a crossroads between different parts of the character. It’s like a withdrawal process, a full body experience.”

The film’s director Daniel Espinosa says that Leto was “the only actor that could really play the part of Morbius. That wasn’t really a choice—it was predestination.”

Describing Leto as a “beautiful actor to work with,” Espinosa also shares that the 50-year-old celebrity comes to set fully prepared, completely immersed in his character.

“He’s become known for his approach to his characters, but it was truly surprising to see how much emotionality he could wrest out of Dr. Michael Morbius,” the director says. “He has a strong dedication, beginning to end, and more than just an actor. He’s a colleague, a partner.”

Leto was excited to take on the challenge of putting a character on screen that has never been portrayed on screen before. “It gets harder and harder to find, and that was unique about this—a Marvel character that had never been portrayed outside of a couple of episodes of a Spider-Man cartoon,” he says.

He was drawn to the character by the idea that the audience would discover the character as he transforms, and by the challenge of portraying those unusual transformations.

“I liked that he had this lofty goal while being frail. But then, he finds the cure and becomes incredibly powerful and strong—he succeeds in that mission only to have everything go wrong,” he concludes. “There’s a lot to discover about this character.”

Morbius will be shown in Philippine cinemas starting March 30.

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