Morbius Was Difficult For Jared Leto Because The Character Is "Closer To Who I Am"

Leto talks about the struggles of playing a character more like himself in the Spider-Man spin-off movie.

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Jared Leto's latest character has a thirst for blood. Of course, we're not referring to the serial killer he portrays in his brand new Netflix film, The Little Things. We're talking about Morbius, the character he plays in the film of the same name, who he says was a difficult character to portray in a new interview in Variety's Actors on Actors series.

"It's a big, fun movie filled with action. It's a brilliant doctor, a researcher, who starts off trying to find a cure for a disease that he has and about 1,000 other people in the world have. I was interested in the role because he goes on this journey from dying to finding a cure for this disease and becoming incredibly healthy, and then having things change in a way that he becomes monstrous. So it's a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde, which is of course a classic role."

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Now Playing: Who the Hell is Morbius, the Living Vampire?

Leto is best known for his character roles, like the transgender character Rayon from 2013's Dallas Buyer's Club, who became a flashpoint for questions about transgender representation in Hollywood. In an interview with actor John David Washington, Leto explained the challenges unique to the character and to starring in a Marvel film.

"[Morbius] was hard for me in some way, because I'm not used to playing roles that are a bit closer to who I am, day in and day out. Dr. Michael Morbius is a little closer to the way that I talk and the way that I behave," Leto explained.

Leto called acting in a Marvel movie "a pressure cooker," as well. "You have a clock ticking. They're expensive films. And so all the decisions and the time to make those decisions are a little bit more heated and so it can be a little more stressful. I think it's common with these big movies, you don't really start with a gem of a script," said the actor, who played the Joker in 2016's Suicide Squad. "You start with a hope and a dream and an idea of something, and you all try to work as hard as you can, in this given amount of time, to make it as good as it can be. And I think it's the first time I've ever starred in a big movie like this in my entire career, so it was new territory. I generally hide out in the shadows."

In the film, Leto plays biochemist Michael Morbius, a scientist with a rare blood disease. Morbius gives himself an experimental treatment that combines his DNA with that of a bat, and in the process gives himself a horrifying new look and many of the same powers and weaknesses as a classic vampire. Morbius the Living Vampire began life as a Spider-Man villain, but has transitioned to an anti-hero in the manner of Venom. The film is part of Sony's growing "Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters." After multiple delays, Morbius is currently scheduled to hit theaters on January 21, 2022.

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