Jared Leto appears shirtless on the cover of Rolling Stone this month, and discusses his time on the set of Dallas Buyers Club among other things in an in-depth interview between the pages.
Leto won his first Oscar in 2014 for his role in the film as Rayon, a drug-addicted transgender woman.
Leto first told Logo in 2013 that he stayed in character as much as possible while he was on set, but the full extent of his method acting gets a better description in his Rolling Stone interview, thanks to his Buyer’s Club co-star Matthew McConaughey and director Jean-Marc Vallée.
According to the two men, they never even met “Jared” until months after filming had wrapped, because he lived his entire time on the set as his transgender character Rayon:
Vallée and McConaughey never met Leto on set, only Rayon. “He tried to steal things from me,” says McConaughey. “Literally, my pocketknife, lighters, et cetera.” For Vallée, trying to direct an actor who wouldn’t acknowledge he was acting was disconcerting.
“He got me out of my comfort zone,” says Vallée, who wasn’t even sure what pronoun was appropriate to use for Leto. “I didn’t know how to address him or her because he was such a lady. He was such a girl, and he was sexy!” At one point, Vallée recalls, McConaughey — also doing a certain degree of Method work as his homophobic-but-learning character — looked at Leto shimmying onto the set and said, “I don’t know whether to kick your ass or fuck it!”
The day the film wrapped, Leto shared a single out-of-character moment with McConaughey, but didn’t let Vallée meet Jared until months later.
When Leto accepted the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, he dedicated it to “the 36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS, and to [anyone] who has ever felt injustice because of who you are or who you love.”
“Tonight I stand in front of the world here with you and for you,” he said at the time.
You can check out the full interview, which includes Leto’s thoughts on carrying on Heath Ledger’s fantastic legacy as The Joker in Suicide Squad, at RollingStone.com.