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Something tells us Jared Leto would have tracked down an actual vampire in an old crypt somewhere and eagerly asked for a bite on the neck if it meant giving a boost to his performance in Sony's Morbius. With ancient blood-suckers in short supply, however, the actor went a different route, instead pretending to have a physical malady on-set in order to mirror his character's debilitating blood disease.
Recently speaking with Uproxx, Morbius director Daniel Espinosa confirmed how Leto would hobble everywhere with a pair of crutches, even when the cameras weren't rolling. This ended up taking up too much time, so the crew ended up having to push the guy around in a wheelchair when he had to use the little bat's room (per IGN, some of these breaks took up to 45 minutes).
"I think that what Jared thinks, what Jared believes, is that somehow the pain of those movements, even when he was playing normal Michael Morbius, he needed, because he’s been having this pain his whole life," Espinosa said. "Even though, as he’s alive and strong, it has to be a difference. Hey, man, it’s people’s processes." The filmmaker went on to add: "All of the actors believe in processes. And you, as director, you support whatever makes it as good as you can be."
This isn't the first time Leto has gotten carried away for a role. While shooting David Ayer's Suicide Squad, he allegedly sent "gifts" (used condoms, bullets, and anal beads) to his fellow cast mates with the goal of inhabiting the twisted headspace of Joker. Since then, Leto has downplayed the inappropriateness of these unpleasant packages.
"Almost all actors, in general, have their own reputation of being an interesting person how he works with their characters," Espinosa continued. "I think that all of them have these traits. If you want a completely normal person that does only things that you understand, then you’re in the wrong business. Because what’s different is what makes them tick. It’s very hard to be able to say, 'I can take this part away and I will still get the same stuff from him.' I don’t do that. I’m more to see like, 'Hey, if you’re doing this, we have to do this.'"
Speaking with Variety for an in-depth cover story, Leto described his personal acting process as "immersive work." While preparing for Morbius, for example, he reportedly met with doctors and patients who explained what it was like to live with a rare blood disease. The result was not only crutches, but an ever-present hunch that alarmed co-star Adria Arjona, who plays the main character's colleague, Martine Bancroft. “I remember fearing for this guy’s spine,” the actress said. “There should have been a physical therapist on call.”
Viewers can check out Leto's method performance for themselves — as Morbius is now playing in theaters everywhere.