Jared Leto’s Niander Wallace in Blade Runner 2049 was an outlier among the majority of characters that he’s played throughout his career, if only because the Wallace Corporation CEO looked very much like Jared Leto. Given his reputation as an actor that frequently and drastically alters his appearance for a huge number of roles, it’s always a surprise when he turns up on the screen looking like himself.
However, Wallace is blind, so the Academy Award winner obviously went full Method in that regard. Leto had contact lenses made that rendered him almost completely unable to see, and he had to be helped to and from the set by an assistant due to his limited vision, with director Denis Villenueve previously admitting that the star’s commitment to realism extended to something as routine as a camera test before any footage had even been shot.
Plenty of actors have played characters that are either blind of shortsighted, but none of them have gone to the sort of extreme lengths as Leto, who continues to live up to his reputation as Hollywood’s premiere eccentric Method man. In a new interview, the 49 year-old revealed where he drew his inspiration from for Wallace, and it even went on to inform the contact lenses themselves.
“I had a really wonderful teacher, a guy named Chris, who is blind. He’s an amazing coach. We actually modeled my eyes in the film after his eyes in real life. He’s just a really special person. There’s a lot of him in the physicality of that performance.”
Ironically, after going to all that trouble, Niander Wallace was still one of the more forgettable elements of Blade Runner 2049. The erstwhile big bad was essentially an exposition machine, but Jared Leto is hardly going to phone in any of his performances no matter how small the role ends up being.
Of course, the DCEU’s Joker has said that he’d love to revisit the character one day in the future, but with Blade Runner 2049 disappointing at the box office despite winning critical acclaim, it’s looking extremely doubtful that he’ll get to do so.