Who is Jared Leto, Aside From Marvel’s Morbius?

Who is Jared Leto, Aside From Marvel’s Morbius?
Image: Marvel

Marvel’s Morbius is finally hitting cinemas in March, two years since its original expected release and four years since the movie was announced. Morbius stars Jared Leto as our titular vampiric villain, but who is this man behind the blood-sucking façade?

As a (not-so) former emo kid, I know Jared Leto for his stellar music career, launching the Morbius man into the hearts of many a teen in the late 90s/early 00s as the front man of Thirty Seconds to Mars.

Mr Leto joined the poster rotation on the wall behind my bed, shared only by Bert McCracken from The Used and Corey Taylor from Slipknot. His music was great and his vibe was everything. To me, Jared Leto is a musician, a brilliant one. So you might imagine my total shock when Gizmodo Australia’s resident Marvel knowledge master Zac informed me he had no idea Leto made music.

So who is Jared Leto and what was he doing before Morbius?

Before Thirty Seconds to Mars, Jared Leto was a TV actor. In 1994, at age 23, he played Jordan Catalano in the television series My So-Called Life and not long after, he made his film debut in How to Make an American Quilt.

 

In Morbius, Jared Leto is playing Dr. Michael Morbius a disabled doctor with a rare blood disease who sets off to find a cure for his disability and becomes a vampire when he discovers said cure, all while seeking to push the boundaries of health and science. He gets super strength, speed and “some form of bat radar”, at the cost of becoming a blood-sucking vampire.

 

Morbius also looks to be quite a gory affair. Which makes me certain Leto is the right person for the gig.

In fact, I’d argue his acting catalogue basically confirms he suits Dr. Michael Morbius, given his supporting roles in The Thin Red Line, Fight Club, Girl, Interrupted and American Psycho, all flicks that ooze brooding brilliance.

 

Jared Leto hasn’t necessarily been typecast to play a character from a gothic romance, but he isn’t your typical Hollywood heartthrob, either. With the exception of Hayden Christensen playing goth boy Sam Monroe in Life As A House, there wasn’t much representation of those into darker things that weren’t fully associated with evil. So Jared Leto was a welcome star to my friends and me.

He then played Paul Gardner in Urban Legend (the first slasher I watched, actually, only because Jared Leto was in it).

Pausing for a moment to say his music career is why I started watching his films, and he introduced me to the world of the different. Girl, Interrupted was the first psychological thriller I watched, too. I was quite young and hadn’t experienced much of the thriller/horror genre, but I was utterly obsessed. It was intense and Winona Ryder pushed the boundaries of what a lead actress should be.

 

A few years later, Jared Leto played heroin addict Harry Goldfarb in Requiem for a Dream.

In 2002, Thirty Seconds to Mars released their debut, self-titled album. Jared Leto then went full musician mode and the band released the A Beautiful Lie masterpiece. It still gets a fairly frequent spin by me, this album slaps. There went on to be three more 30STM albums: This Is War; Love, Lust Faith and Dreams; and America.

 

From Requiem for a Dream until the release of America, Jared Leto also starred in Panic Room, Alexander, Lord of War, Lonely Hearts, Chapter 27, Mr Nobody, Dallas Buyers Club (mind you, he walked away with an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actor – all of this I learned purely when I went fact-checking for this article), Suicide Squad and Blade Runner 2049.

The Little Things and House of Gucci are the latest two flicks Leto adds to his CV.

Oh. He also carried his own head as a prop to the Met Gala in 2019.

jared leto morbius
Image: Getty

What to expect from Morbius

The history of the Morbius character is a peculiar one, traditionally, Morbius is a villain, but what we’re expecting is for him to be portrayed as an antihero (see Venom: Let There Be Carnage). Either way, as I said above, I’m convinced Jared Leto is the right person to play Dr. Michael Morbius given that chunky CV (also detailed above). The movie seems to pick up on the beats of the original comic Morbius quite well, applying a modern flair to the extravagant vampire of older Marvel comics. Morbius has an undying thirst for human blood, caught between humanity and vampirism. It looks to be a cross between a monster flick and a superhero film, again, very much like Venom.

In addition to Leto, Morbius will star Jared Harris as Emil Nikols, Adria Arjona as Martine Bancroft, Tyrese Gibson as Simon Stroud and Matt Smith as Loxias Crown. I’m very excited to see one of the actors who played Doctor Who as a villain. Oh, and Michael Keaton will also be appearing in an unnamed role.

Morbius will theatrically release in Australia on 31 March.