MANILA, PHILIPPINES — “I’m attracted to roles where there’s an opportunity to transform – physical transformation, but also mental, emotional, any and all,” says Jared Leto, who is indeed renowned for his transformations. From his Academy Award®-winning performance as Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club to his portrayal of Paolo Gucci in House of Gucci, Leto disappears into his roles, bringing characters to life in ways that can be moving, or terrifying, or enigmatic, but always unforgettable.
In his new film Morbius, based on the Marvel antihero, Leto brings all of these together for his performance as Dr. Michael Morbius, a brilliant doctor with a rare and fatal blood disease, determined to find the cure. Morbius’s genius finds a way not only to cure the illness but to give him unimaginable strength and powers, but at a terrible cost: an uncontrollable thirst for human blood.
“I played Dr. Michael Morbius from his most frail, to his most powerful, to his most monstrous,” Leto continues. “There’s a lot of range in there, so that was really fun to tackle. Not only does the movie have action, stunts, and fighting, but the role itself was taxing. Whenever he is fighting the affliction, he is caught in a crossroads between different parts of the character. It’s like a withdrawal process, a full body experience.”
“Jared Leto was the only actor that could really play the part of Morbius. That wasn’t really a choice – it was predestination,” says Daniel Espinosa, who directs the film.
“Jared is a beautiful actor to work with – he comes to set fully prepared, completely immersed in his character,” adds the director. “He’s become known for his approach to his characters, but it was truly surprising to see how much emotionality he could wrest out of Dr. Michael Morbius. He has a strong dedication, beginning to end, and more than just an actor. He’s a colleague, a partner.”
“I was excited about taking on the challenge of putting a character on screen that had never been on screen before,” says Leto. “It gets harder and harder to find, and that was unique about this – a Marvel character that had never been portrayed outside of a couple of episodes of a Spider-Man cartoon.”
Leto was drawn to the character by the idea that the audience would discover the character as he transforms, and by the challenge of portraying those unusual transformations. “I liked that he had this lofty goal while being frail. But then, he finds the cure and becomes incredibly powerful and strong – he succeeds in that mission only to have everything go wrong,” he concludes. “There’s a lot to discover about this character.”
Exclusively in cinemas across the Philippines starting March 30, Morbius is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Connect with the hashtag #Morbius.