You know JLo, you also know JLaw, but do you know JLe or JLeto? Well, If you were watching Golden Globes and heard the name Jared Leto, and are still wondering who is this guy, @SilverlightGal has got the answer for you.
It’s that time of the year again when actors and actresses make space in their (perhaps already crowded or perhaps nearly empty) shelves to store little statuettes that recognize their contribution to the world of films. The BAFTAs, the Golden Globes, and the Academys, all will follow one another. And this year, besides rooting for the usual suspects, the one person whom I am strongly rooting for is, Jared Leto. Yes, you heard that right.
Who’s Jared Leto, you may ask?
A man who is perfectly sober plays a heroin addict convincingly.
A man who is scrawny and looks harmless on first sight plays a serial killer with such conviction that it send a chill down your spine.
A man who is scrawny gains enough weight in real life without using prosthetics to imply bulk.
A man who is sane and socially active plays a socially awkward, unstable, and deranged murderer.
A man who is perfectly straight plays a transgender woman.
That’s Jared Leto for you.
From playing a heroin addict Harry Goldfarb in Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream to playing the bloated deranged Mark Chapman who assassinates John Lennon to playing a scrawny yet chilling killer Raymond Fernandez, he’s done a wide range of roles. Yet received comparatively less recognition as compared to the other A-list actors. People often go into raptures citing Christian Bale’s commitment and dedication to a role (I myself have been guilty of that at times) and yet ignore Leto’s similar preparations for a role. While the likes of Bale instantly gain worldwide acclaim and popularity, actors like Leto get sidelined and their contributions to cinema often overlooked.
To play Harry Goldfarb, Jared Leto lost 28 pounds and to play Chapman, he gained a whopping 67 pounds. And it’s not just about losing or gaining weight. Pushing himself to extremes, he sinks into the character he’s supposed to play. In Lonely Hearts, he teamed up with Salma Hayek to play a serial killer. On a normal day if someone had told you this skinny and funny looking guy could play a character that chops up a woman into pieces, you would laugh right out into their faces. But it was Leto who had the last laugh when he played the role with immense conviction.
Despite winning critical acclaim for his roles, the awards have mostly eluded him. He’s been nominated several times but hardly won any big awards. Hopefully, this year, his performances as a HIV positive transgender woman in Dallas Buyers Club will change that. The 2014 Golden Globes have arrived with a big bang and they have brought good tidings for Leto with a Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture award.
Pitted against Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), Daniel Brühl (Rush), Bradley Cooper (American Hustle), and Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave), Jared Leto held his own and emerged the dark horse winner. Dark horse because a lot of people’s money was on Michael Fassbender or even Bradley Cooper for his scintillating portrayal of a wild FBI agent.
So, what’s Dallas Buyers Club about?
Ron Woodroof a Texas-based electrician and rodeo cowboy finds his freewheeling life turned upside down when he discovers he’s H.I.V.-positive and given 30 days to live. However, he refuses to accept the death sentence. He begins a daredevil journey into smuggling alternative medicines into the U.S where they weren’t available earlier. It is in the course of this journey that he comes across Rayon, a transgender woman who is also a fellow AIDS patient. Together, they establish the Dallas Buyers Club through which AIDs patients get access to the smuggled medicines by paying a monthly fee. Slowly, buyt surely, they build a collective, a community, of fellow patients who all want a little more of life, dignity, and acceptance.
To play the transgender woman, Rayon, Jared had to wax his whole body including his eyebrows, learn the appropriate styles and mannerisms to portray a transsexual person without appearing demeaning or derogatory in any way. He has been quoted on how he went deep into that character so much that he hopes to take away some of the good elements of Rayon into his own life.
In an interview with Rolling Stone in November 2013, he spoke about how he’s always been awarded and recognized for his music than his acting and that he did so wish people would value his film performances too.
With the Golden Globe safely tucked under his arm, here’s hoping that he goes on to win all the other awards too that he’s been nominated for.
Let’s hear it for Jared Leto!
(@SilverlightGal is passionate about cinema and is always eager for any discussions pertaining to cinema.)
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