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Why Jared Leto is the perfect Blade Runner villain

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Everyone might be talking about Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling in the upcoming Blade Runner 2049, but we know who will be the real star of the show: Jared Leto.

He will be playing Niander Wallace, a replicant manufacturer who is also the antagonist of the film. Here’s why we think Leto is the perfect choice for the role.

He's an Oscar winner

There’s an argument to be made that the quality of the villain is more important than the hero. Who do you remember most – Clarice Starling or Hannibal Lecter? We rest our case.

And there’s few better ways of judging an actor’s credentials than their accolades. With Jared Leto the owner of an Academy Award for his transgender role in Dallas Buyers Club, he’s the only Oscar winner in the entire cast.

This is even more impressive when you consider that the likes of Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista and Ana de Armas all feature. Perhaps we’ll see another Oscar-worthy performance as a result of the movie itself.


He's used to playing the baddie

Say what you want about Jared Leto as the Joker in Suicide Squad, he was still hella’ creepy. He's also played the big bad in films such as Panic Room as a burglar threatening Jodie Foster, and in Chapter 27 as John Lennon’s murderer, Mark Chapman.

He rarely plays the knight in shining armour, even coming across as shady when he’s not the bad guy. The likes of Darren Aronofsky's gruelling addiction drama Requiem for a Dream demonstrate this perfectly. 

And this is exactly what we want for Blade Runner. We don’t want a one-dimensional villain who only cares about ruling the world. We want a fleshed-out villain so we can both cheer for their demise yet understand their motives. From Leto’s record, we’re confident that’s exactly what we’ll be getting.


He always goes full method

Many actors have gone to outlandish lengths for their roles. Robert De Niro gained a ton of weight for Raging Bull. Heath Ledger would lock himself in a hotel room to practise his laugh as the Joker. And Jared Leto has gone to similar lengths for his acting roles.

For Dallas Buyers Club Leto reportedly refused to break character while filming, while he also waxed his entire body, shaved off his eyebrows and lost 30 pounds in weight. By contrast when playing the murderous Mark Chapman he gained so much weight he was virtually unrecognisable.

Sounds impressive? That pales in comparison to what he did for his role in Requiem for a Dream as he decided to live off the streets in New York City for two months to get a better understanding of the life of a heroin addict.

And when appearing as the Joker in Suicide Squad, he was reported to have sent dead animals and pornography to his co-stars to freak them out.

And you thought working weekends was ultimate dedication. Leto clearly devotes a lot of work to perfecting his characters, so it will be exciting to see how he applies it to his role as Niander Wallace.


He's seen the original Blade Runner 375,000 times

Okay, Leto was probably exaggerating when he claimed this in an interview (if our calculations are correct it would take 2539 years to do so). But there's no denying he's a huge fan of Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic.

Leto even declared it to be one of his favourite films of all time. It’s always great to see actors so passionate about the films they’re signing up for rather than being solely interested in the pay check. This kind of passion always shines through into their performance, plus it’s vital that Leto understands the importance of this film to the fan base.

Leto also revealed his admiration for Harrison Ford and that the two had shared some "incredible" scenes. We’re chomping at the bit to see them.


He looks the creepy part

You might not think an actor’s looks matter all that much for a role now, what with CGI and make-up so prominent in Hollywood, but could you really imagine the likes of Michael Cera or James Corden playing the new Blade Runner villain?

Despite what the screaming girls at 30 Seconds to Mars concerts will tell you, Leto occasionally has an unsettling air about him. Perhaps it’s the thin jaw line, the beard or the bright blue eyes? There’s just something there that cries out crazy.

Why else do you think you bagged the Joker role? He looks even creepier than usual in Blade Runner 2049 thanks to some eerie contact lenses, further enhancing his eerie role as Niander Wallace.

So there’s are reasons why we think Jared Leto will boss it as the Blade Runner villain. Still not sure about him? Well, you’ll just have to see for yourself at Cineworld come 6th October.

Ryan Jones is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.