Jared Leto has ventured into the superhero worlds across DC and Marvel cinematic universes after finding fame in independent cinema, but the Oscar winner is fully aware of the modern ecosystem that fuels exhibition.
“If it wasn’t for Marvel films, I don’t even know if theaters would exist,” the “Morbius” star told Variety, admitting he’s a “bit of a snob when it comes to film.” “It doesn’t seem like there’s room for everyone, and that starts to become a little heartbreaking.”
After “Spider-Man: No Way Home” resurrected the theatergoing experience in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic — and broke box-office records along the way — Leto’s take on Spider-Man adversary Dr. Michael Morbius is set to be released in theaters April 1 after many pandemic delays. “If it doesn’t work out, we have a good excuse,” Leto said of the film’s long road to release, which was initially set for July 2020. “We waited too long.”
“Morbius,” the latest edition in Sony Pictures’ Universe of Marvel superheroes tentpole franchise, marks Leto’s first foray into the MCU. Leto admitted that he understands why he was Sony’s natural choice to take on the role of the blood-sucking Morbius, whom Leto describes as “a bit of a dark horse, an outsider.”
This isn’t Leto’s first time playing a complicated, comic book outsider. Leto previously stepped into the role of DC’s The Joker for 2016’s “Suicide Squad” and the Zack Snyder cut of “Justice League,” a role elsewhere played in non-DC Extended Universe Batman outings by Heath Ledger, Joaquin Phoenix, and Jack Nicholson. (While Leto is swapping DC for Marvel, he told Variety to “never say never” about possibly reprising his Joker role in the future.)
Other Marvel stars like Benedict Cumberbatch, who is Oscar nominated this year for Jane Campion’s Netflix drama “The Power of the Dog,” have reflected on the seemingly divided box office landscape amid the dominance of Marvel and DC movies.
“Artistically, I never think of the two as completely mutually exclusive,” the “Doctor Strange” star previously told Vanity Fair. “[But] unless you have a Marvel star, financing any film is very, very, very, very difficult — no matter how important the story, no matter how urgent the story, no matter how talented and awarded and appreciated the artist is.”