January 07, 2014

Jared Leto, in Heels

January 6, 2014, 2:52 pm

Jared Leto is receiving the first of what may be many honors this season, from the New York Film Critics Circle on Monday night, for his performance as the transgender AIDS patient Rayon in “Dallas Buyers Club.” Mr. Leto lost nearly 30 pounds for the role and shaved off his eyebrows, among other make-unders. And of course, he was put in women’s clothing and makeup, as well as being made to look ill and impoverished.

“There were a lot of physical things going on, which is also dangerous, a trap, because it can get in the way,” he said recently. “You could become this billboard for ‘Look at me, look at me, look at me, and see all these things that I’ve done.’ It can become a giant indication.”

But, he added, committing to those transformations was an incredible tool for his performance. “Those things are great, because they do change the way people treat you, which is awesome for the role,” he said. “When you lose weight, it changes the way you walk and talk and think and feel.”

“As soon as you put on a pair of heels, it changes your body center,” he added. “Every morning, no matter what, I stepped out of that passenger van when I got dropped off on set, and I was wearing my heels. It didn’t matter if it was 4 in the morning or whatever. I had my heels on, and that was a great way to set things for the day. You wear a little purse, it makes you move a slightly different; if you put on bracelets or have nails, your hands can move differently.”

After a long absence from movies, during which he focused on his band 30 Seconds to Mars, Mr. Leto has found Rayon hard to shake.

“She rears her ugly head sometimes — her pretty little head,” he said. “You know, I wore a lot of prosthetics, and sometimes sick makeup to make me look appropriately ill. I remember one day at the end of set, I washed that all off, looked in the mirror, said, ‘Wow.’ I guess I didn’t do a very good job — wash it off again, and it was just the way that I looked at that point. It was a very intense and challenging time, but she’s addicted to drugs and alcohol, and dying of AIDS, didn’t take very good care of herself. If she ate at the Waffle House twice a week, she was probably doing pretty good.”

“I think,” he added, “Rayon thought she looked pretty damn good.”

Source: The New York Times.

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