Is Jared Leto becoming Hollywood’s go-to villain? After an interesting but imperfect performance as the Joker in last year’s Suicide Squad, Leto is once again being asked to creep people out, this time as the central baddie in Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming Blade Runner sequel, Blade Runner 2049.
As we learned from the film’s Comic-Con panel earlier this summer, Leto plays Neander Wallace, a Steve Jobs-like visionary who helped solve future-L.A.’s hunger crisis by inventing a form of genetically modified food. But despite his best efforts, Wallace sees that humans are ultimately too greedy, depraved and undisciplined to survive. So he takes over the Tyrell Corporation and leads the replicant resurgence that sets the film’s plot into motion. “Humanity can not survive,” he says in the new international spot. “Replicants are the future of the species. But I can only make so many.”
Once Ryan Gosling’s Officer K realizes that Wallace is “constructing an army,” and that he has “every gun in the city,” according to Robin Wright’s character, he turns to Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard for help. Together they must solve the mystery at the heart of the film and stop Wallace from replacing the human species with androids.
Leto has been known to throw himself into his roles, and called playing Wallace “ one of the highlights of my film career,” in a recent interview with London Evening Standard. “Throughout my life, I’ve always gone back to that film,” he said of the original. “There was something in it that really touched me and taught me a lot about cinema. There’s a level of craftsmanship and beauty that’s unparalleled.”
As we approach the film’s release and the promotional blitz gets underway, we should learn more about what (or who) inspired Leto’s silver-eyed villain with the inscrutable accent. Remember, Leto’s costars couldn’t stop talking about all of his crazy antics on the set of Suicide Squad (dead pigs at table reads! Live rats as gifts!), and we expect more of the same craziness this time around.
Watch Leto be good at being bad in the new Blade Runner 2049 trailer, below.