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Jared Leto Responds to ‘Method Actor’ Rumors: It’s His ‘Job to Show Up and Do the Best Work’

Gout, bad gifts, even a few weeks spent on the streets, the Oscar winner is known for his extreme prep, but he tells Variety he finds the term a "little cloudy."

Suicide Squad

Jared Leto in “Suicide Squad”

Warner Bros.

Some stories you might have heard about Oscar winner Jared Leto and his methodology for preparing for a role and staying in character: he gained so much weight to play John Lennon’s killer Mark David Chapman in “Chapter 27” that he developed gout, he fired off a series of bizarre “gifts” to his “Suicide Squad” co-stars (from rats to bullets), he pretended to be homeless for weeks to prep for “Requiem for a Dream,” the list goes on and on.

As Leto readies to present his next big role to the world — playing a serial killer in John Lee Hancock’s “The Little Things,” out later this month — the actor has some thoughts on all those (not always nice) claims that he tends to go “full Method” in his prep. During a recent appearance on Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast (via The Playlist), Leto was asked about his reputation for getting, well, a little deep in his work and what he thinks about the term “Method actor.”

“I appreciate the term, I think it’s a little cloudy, the definition. And it, it could also be really pretentious as well,” Leto said. “I was thinking of it as my job to show up and do the best work that I can. It’s my job to show up, do whatever I can, to be overprepared. And to deliver. It’s also my job to show up and, you know, be a pleasure to work with. And, and, and, and to be collaborative, and to have a good experience on set.”

Certainly, Leto is attracted to the kind of off-kilter roles that might benefit from some deeper (and weirder, and often harder) explorations. When asked about his “Little Things” character Albert Sparma, the actor compared him to his own take on the Joker in “Suicide Squad.”

“There are a few, very few characters that you play that have absolutely no rules, you know, that you could just go to town,” he said of the Joker. “Sparma reminds me a little bit of that character as well in that he’s just a little outside the box. He’s someone who says everything that he thinks, basically. And he always is surprising. He’s very playful. And I found him actually quite funny as well. … He could be a good guy or a bad guy, but he’s a fun guy!”

During his appearance on the podcast, Leto was also asked about plans regarding his return to the iconic baddie role, either in the long-rumored solo film or perhaps in something more immediate: Zack Snyder’s upcoming “Snyder Cut,” hitting HBO Max in March.

In October, THR confirmed that Leto would appear in the new version of Snyder’s “Justice League,” despite not popping up in the 2017 theatrical cut. The actor remained coy, however, telling Variety, “I may or may not be in this; I’ve heard the rumors too. We’ll have to let Zack [Snyder] confirm or deny that one. … I may or may not have shot something with Zack, but I love him, he’s just a maverick and an incredible filmmaker; we get along great and have great chemistry.”

Listen to Leto’s full appearance on Awards Circuit right here.

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