‘Morbius’ Director ‘Got Scared’ for Method Actor Jared Leto During Intense Scene: ‘It Was a Bit Spooky’

"He really commits," director Daniel Espinosa said of Leto, who physically transformed himself once again in playing the Marvel vampire. "You have to watch out for it."
Jared Leto in Morbius

Jared Leto doesn’t shy away from sinking his teeth into new roles.

The “Morbius” star leans into an “immersive work” ethic, as Leto told Variety in a cover story. Leto stars as Dr. Michael Morbius, a scientist suffering from a rare blood disease whose attempts to find a cure turn him into a blood-sucking monster. The film premieres in theaters April 1.

Leto’s level of commitment to the role, based on Roy Thomas’ Marvel comics of the same name, included creating a physical impairment to literally walk in the shoes of the Marvel vampire in the superhero origin story.

“I don’t want to get too specific because I’d like to keep some of that for myself,” Leto said of his character walking with a cane. “But I leaned in — no pun unintended. I’m a sucker for a pun, but I didn’t mean that. I worked with people who had this specific physical challenge and modeled it after that.”

Co-star Adria Arjona recalled that Leto used crutches and contorted his body even after director Daniel Espinosa yelled cut.

“I remember fearing for this guy’s spine,” Arjona said. “There should have been a physical therapist on call.”

Yet Espinosa shared that it wasn’t Morbius’ stride that ended up leaving a mark, but rather Leto’s interpretation of a sequence where his character locks himself in a room to resist his bloodthirsty appetite.

“I got scared for Jared,” Espinosa said. “He really commits. You have to watch out for it.”

A separate scene, which involved Morbius shattering glass, left an intense impression on production, according to Espinosa. “I could sense the crew backed off,” he added. “It was a bit spooky.”

Leto, who also stars in Apple TV+’s “WeCrashed,” is known for diving headfirst into characters. “WeCrashed” co-star Anne Hathaway revealed that she didn’t “meet” the real Leto until months after production wrapped, and even joked on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” that Leto was “split in three” as himself, WeWork founder Adam Neumann, and his “House of Gucci” role of Paolo Gucci. For Paolo, Leto also disappeared behind prosthetics and remained in character, like his co-star Lady Gaga, for the duration of the shoot.

“Morbius” is the latest installment in Sony Pictures’ Universe of Marvel characters within the Spider-Man franchise, existing in the same cinematic universe as Tom Hardy’s Venom. Leto is the first actor to bring Morbius to life in a live-action installment.

“Morbius” premieres in theaters on April 1.

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