HomeOur ObsessionsThe Joker: Ten times Jared Leto proved he’s the king of cinema

The Joker: Ten times Jared Leto proved he’s the king of cinema

Let’s look back at some of Jared Leto's best roles to date (ranked from okay to mindblowingly good) from 'Prefontaine' to 'Blade Runner 2049'.

The Joker: Ten times Jared Leto proved he’s the king of cinema

Making it in the movie world is no easy feat. Sometimes actors get in with the right crowd, other times they’re at the right place at the right time, and some manage to climb to the top through sheer talent.

It’s clear Jared Leto falls into the latter camp, because over the years he has truly proved himself one of the most versatile actors on the circuit. Whether it be junkie lowlifes, superhero villains, or yuppy D-bags, Leto can do it all (except music – 30 Seconds to Mars sucks balls).

Leto even joined Japanese organized crime syndicate the Yakuza in the Netflix thriller The Outsider. Let’s look back at some of the actor’s best roles to date (ranked from okay to mindblowingly good).

Hephaistion: Alexander (2004)

Oliver Stone’s biography thriller tells the story of Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia and one of the greatest military commanders in history. Although the movie bombed at the box office, Leto puts in a solid performance alongside Colin Farrell‘s Alexander, channeling the loyalty & love Hephaistion felt for Alex.

Steve Prefontaine: Prefontaine (1997)

In an early role, Leto plays Steve Prefontaine in this true story about the Olympic long-distance runner who died tragically at 24 from crashing his car while drink driving. Even back in the 90s, Leto was recognized by audiences praising his nuanced take on the runner.

The Joker: Suicide Squad (2016)

In 2016, Leto caused quite the stir as The Joker in Suicide Squad. Although a lot of his scenes were omitted from the final cut, he did some pretty cray-cray things to get into the role, including allegedly sending used condoms to his costars as well as pig carcasses. Method-acting at its most repugnant!

Junior: Panic Room (2002)

Leto got the chance to terrorize the mother & daughter played by Jodie Foster (The Silence of the Lambs) and Kristen Stewart in David Fincher’s crime thriller. In this more amusing role, Leto plays the small-time thief with conviction, breaking into the family’s home in an attempt to steal millions, but getting majorly injured in the process.

Angel Face: Fight Club (1999)

Starring a young Brad Pitt (Moneyball) & Edward Norton (American History X), Leto gave a solid performance in the game-changing film as Angel Face, a bleached-blonde recruit who gets his face smashed to pieces by Norton during a fight.

Niander Wallace: Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Whether you dug the sequel or didn’t, there’s no denying Leto’s performance as the blind yet ruthless villain Niander Wallace was exceptional. As always, he went full method actor again, apparently partially blinding himself by wearing sight-limiting contact lenses to get into the role.

Nemo Nobody: Mr. Nobody (2009)

Leto ranges widely in ages and life plans as Nemo Nobody, a 118-year-old man who is the last mortal on Earth after humans have achieved immortality. As he inches towards the end of his life, Nemo reflects on the past in ways no immortal human could, with Leto giving a solid performance at the different stages of his character’s life.

Paul Allen: American Psycho (2000)

He might’ve only played Christian Bale’s work nemesis, but Leto absolutely killed it as the business card-yielding Wall Street yuppie. If only he never went back to Patrick’s for some Huey Lewis and the News, eh?

Harry Goldfarb: Requiem for a Dream (2000)

There aren’t enough words to explain the brilliance of Leto as an effed-up junkie in Darren Aronofsky’s effed-up drama. Offering a look at four people whose lives are destroyed in different but equally devastating ways by drug abuse, Leto managed to bag heartthrob status despite being a heroin addict with a literal hole in his arm. Now that’s an achievement!

Rayon: Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Can we all just take a moment to appreciate the genius of Leto’s bold portrayal of transgender woman, Rayon? Once again proving his abilities as a method actor, Leto lost around 30 pounds for the role. But even more commendable was how believable he was, launching the socio-medical drama out of the ordinary realms and into something truly remarkable.

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Daisy Webb is an outspoken, opinionated writer with a passion for all things horror and cult comedy. When she's not watching films, she likes listening to music, cooking too much food, and writing short stories with unhappy endings.

daisyp@filmdaily.co

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