“Blade Runner 2049” finally arrives in theaters next weekend with Oscar winner Jared Leto starring as the villainous Niander Wallace, but it turns out the actor wasn’t exactly director Denis Villeneuve’s first choice for the antagonistic role. In a new interview with Metro, Villeneuve reveals that he originally wanted David Bowie to play the film’s main villain before the world learned of his passing and cancer diagnosis.
“Our first thought [for the character] had been David Bowie, who had influenced ‘Blade Runner’ in many ways,” Villeneuve said. “When we learned the sad news, we looked around for someone like that.” The director’s quest for an actor with a similar rock star vibe as Bowie led him to Leto, who had just wrapped production as the Joker on “Suicide Squad.”
Niander Wallace is described as a “manipulative replicant manufacturer” who uncovers a key to humanity’s demise, setting him on a crash course with Ryan Gosling’s Officer K. According to Villeneuve, Gosling’s role was written specifically for the actor. Leto went method for the role and used contact lenses that blinded him during the production.
“Blade Runner” 2049 co-stars Mackenzie Davis, Robin Wright, and David Bautista. The movie opens nationwide October 6.