Jared Leto might be a polarizing presence, but you can never accuse the guy of phoning it in. The actor fully immerses himself into every character he plays for better or worse, to the extent that he rarely even uses his own speaking voice on the screen.
Within the context of the COVID-19 era, Leto’s latest effort, John Lee Hancock’s crime thriller The Little Things, can be deemed a success after spending two weeks at the top of the domestic box office despite releasing simultaneously on HBO Max, proving that not even a global pandemic can put a dent in Denzel Washington‘s drawing power.
In the buildup to it, though, it looked as if we might have a serious awards contender on our hands, with Rami Malek rounding out a trio of Oscar winners in the lead roles, while the trailer promised an atmospheric movie with some heavy subject matter. Unfortunately, however, the reviews have been largely tepid across the board, but the overwhelming majority of the plaudits have gone Leto’s way.
The 49 year-old adopts a raspy voice and a limping gait as prime suspect Albert Sparma, and has found himself nominated at both the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards for Best Supporting Actor. However, in a recent interview, Hancock revealed that Leto was worried his performance might hurt the film and told him that he could remove any of his scenes that he wanted in case he was ruining the final product.
“Everybody’s fantastic in the movie, but Jared is so outside the box and gives a different flavor to the movie once he arrives on scene. Jared, at one point in post, when I was doing my director’s cut, he texted me and said, ‘Don’t let me ruin your movie. Anything I’m not good in, just cut that scene’.
And I said, ‘I wish I had more scenes, Jared’. We even thought about adding one more scene where we could introduce him a tad earlier, but then looking at it, I thought, ‘I don’t know. I think it maybe makes him more memorable, the fact that you wait for him’. It’s not formulaic and traditional. Like, at the end of the first act, here’s this guy, you know? There’s not a scene that Jared shot that was cut.”
Not all of the bold and bizarre choices the actor has made during his career have landed as well as he’d hoped, but he’s certainly an engaging and wholly unsettling presence as the prime antagonist of The Little Things, and an Academy Award nod is looking like a foregone conclusion at this stage.