Interview: Jared Leto on Blade Runner, Rotten Tomatoes, and Our Obsession with Nostalgia

by | October 9, 2017 | Comments

(Photo by Stephen Vaughan/Alcon Entertainment)


In Blade Runner 2049, Jared Leto plays Niander Wallace, one of the more fascinating and mysterious characters. Part monk, part psychotic genius, Wallace is a blind trillionaire who helped save civilization and is determined to carry on the once-defunct replicant program by creating a new kind of replicant that will not disobey or revolt… because we know what goes down when that happens.

Rotten Tomatoes caught up with Leto in advance of Blade Runner 2049‘s arrival in theaters, and our conversation began by, well, talking about Rotten Tomatoes.

Jared Leto: The legendary Rotten Tomatoes! The most feared outlet in the entire world of cinema. The crusher of dreams and the bringer of nightmares. The supporter of hope!

Erik Davis for Rotten Tomatoes: Hey man, we’re driving the conversation. That’s what it’s about.

Leto: That’s right. Hey, I appreciate it. I see it.

RT: And speaking of, this film is so deep, it’s so complex. It’s beautiful, it’s sexy. What is the conversation that you’d like to see people having when they walk out of the theater?

Leto: That’s a great question. By the way, just to throw it out there, green tomatoes are a delicacy in many parts of the world. Anyway, the conversation… I hope people are inspired. I hope people are excited. I hope people are talking about the future, about technology, about artificial intelligence, about replicants, what tomorrow is gonna be like. I hope people are talking about how much they enjoyed the film and how much pleasure it brought to them. It’s a really rare thing when a movie comes together with the caliber of people that I was so lucky to be surrounded by… or a small part of, with Harrison and Ryan and Denis and Roger Deakins and Michael Green and everybody. It’s just an astounding group of people.

RT: No doubt.

Leto: A film this size, too, it doesn’t happen very often. Selfishly, I’m really excited about it because I hope that means that maybe more films like this will get made and encouraged, and maybe there’ll be even more Blade Runner prequels and sequels and spinoffs, because I love the Blade Runner universe. For me, it’s Star Wars.

(Photo by Stephen Vaughan/Alcon Entertainment)

RT: For sure. Are you down for being a part of that and returning for more Blade Runner movies?

Leto: Absolutely! You kidding me? I’ll play the dog who gets kicked in the street.

RT: Your character in this — he feels like he’s part monk, he’s part genius, he’s part psychopath. What were some of the things that inspired your take on him? What did you watch? What did you read? What did you eat?

Leto: He is a bit like Steve Jobs meets the Dalai Lama.

I mean, he is a bit of a monk. He’s a bit of a genius, a mad genius. He’s a trillionaire and a person who saved civilization from starvation and went on to continue the work of the Tyrell Corporation and acquired the rights and has rebooted replicants and has an idea of what’s needed in order to save civilization from itself.

RT: Are you watching Steve Jobs videos then? To get into that state of mind, what are you watching? What are you doing?

Leto: I mean, exactly that sort of thing. I think you study the great philosophers. You push yourself and try to educate yourself. I’m fortunate enough to be friends with some really inspiring people in the tech world and some of the smartest people on the planet. It was good to spend time with them and see how they operate and see… just to be a part of their world, kinda glimpse into the world that they live in. That was essential.

RT: I feel like nostalgia’s playing a big role in the resurrection of franchises like Blade Runner, like Star Wars, even like Stephen King’s It that just came out. Do you feel like that’s a good thing, that nostalgia is playing such a big part in what people are making these days?

Leto: I think it’s great. I don’t have any problem with it. I mean, if a piece of material is great, why shouldn’t it be reinterpreted? I think we’ve done that since the beginning of time. We tell stories. We reimagine the stories. We add to stories. We draw from stories. For the great ones out there, I mean, I love the fact that they made another Blade Runner, that they made new Star Wars movies, and that they’re continuing to reinvent. Sometimes they manage to get it right and do it even better, or sometimes they manage to continue a story and to elaborate on something that is really interesting or exciting. I think that it’s great when it’s great. When it’s not, it’s reductive and it’s not a lot of fun. But, yeah.

(Photo by Stephen Vaughan/Alcon Entertainment)

RT: A lot of people are now debating whether Blade Runner 2049 is a better film than the original Blade Runner. What do you think?

Leto: Well, I don’t think there has to be a better Blade Runner.

RT: No?

Leto: That’s like asking who’s better, the father or the son? The brother or the sister? They’re a family. They don’t have to be better than one another. They shouldn’t be better than one another. They’re different and they should live separate but equal.

RT: Speaking of, your character in this film is probably in the best place to solve another debate: whether or not Deckard is a replicant. What would your character think?

Leto: Well, Denis gave me quite a gift in the film, and this is a spoiler. But in the film, I look into Deckard’s mind. I asked Denis, “So what do I see? Do I see the replicant? Do I see a human?” He took a long pause, a very long pause, an eternity. He turned around and he walked a few paces. He came back to me and he said, “You know what? It’s your decision to make. Niander Wallace knows and only Niander knows.” So that was kinda fun, and now I have that secret and I get to carry it with me to my grave.

RT: You also did a short film set before Blade Runner 2049 takes place and with a different director. I’m always fascinated by that, doing these other pieces of content that are from other filmmakers. Is it a different experience, and what do you bring to that that’s different than what you bring to the feature film?

Leto: Totally different experience. It’s a great question. But it was Ridley Scott’s son that directed the piece, so it was all part of the family. But it was different. It was fun to have more Niander Wallace to explore and to further the story. I hope people love the film, and I would absolutely be honored to continue and to jump into Niander’s … What’s it’s called again? The kimono, to toss the kimono on one more time would be fun.

Tag Cloud

vampires book adaptation AMC Plus toy story romance trophy Extras hist all-time discovery ITV kong stand-up comedy die hard Animation Creative Arts Emmys television Music Mary Tyler Moore Marathons nfl TV movies Country breaking bad award winner HBO Go Election OneApp docuseries Family PlayStation art house Drama PBS biopic CBS All Access aapi Avengers VH1 jurassic park New York Comic Con laika Thanksgiving TV renewals Cannes The Purge king kong video on demand TV Land south america Binge Guide know your critic Schedule Classic Film indie Character Guide Travel Channel adaptation Stephen King dragons women space Alien Netflix police drama movie Amazon Prime Video sitcom Christmas scary RT History spider-man true crime Lifetime Christmas movies book First Look crime thriller fresh 73rd Emmy Awards Britbox nature Ghostbusters GIFs Sundance Now cancelled television Academy Awards Spike South by Southwest Film Festival Reality Competition razzies Polls and Games Hallmark cops Calendar Pop TV Opinion Disney Plus scary movies rt labs Infographic social media facebook Ovation TV rotten cinemax Nominations Paramount Pictures fast and furious 4/20 feel good sag awards politics christmas movies Hallmark Christmas movies spain Women's History Month rt labs critics edition Awards Tour adenture streaming DC Universe 90s Turner SXSW godzilla king arthur Chernobyl crime drama Sci-Fi trailers mission: impossible 1990s reviews black travel Set visit WarnerMedia transformers political drama President Television Critics Association spanish language PaleyFest composers video cooking RT21 WGN japanese Fantasy Food Network teaser Rocky GoT History AMC franchise 20th Century Fox live action Epix royal family Sony Pictures Tumblr golden globe awards Spring TV Funimation romantic comedy Crackle Comedy Masterpiece Emmys revenge Emmy Nominations Black Mirror Cartoon Network debate critic resources YouTube Premium french TCA Awards BET LGBTQ Pop IFC YouTube Red CBS international cats hispanic heritage month Box Office best obituary batman rom-coms DC streaming service Disney news kaiju ABC Signature Lifetime posters dark comedies APB 007 toronto Syfy Disney streaming service FOX HBO Max Apple Martial Arts diversity SDCC Interview period drama Writers Guild of America natural history Podcast ViacomCBS 2015 Year in Review harry potter GLAAD OWN Tokyo Olympics The Walking Dead The CW Endgame concert based on movie Pixar 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards comic book movies doctor who japan theme song Musical Red Carpet blaxploitation Paramount telelvision HFPA Elton John dceu TBS Premiere Dates ghosts Amazon Studios Mudbound documentaries Tarantino thriller kids suspense Prime Video what to watch versus El Rey blockbusters Pacific Islander spinoff historical drama Comics on TV 21st Century Fox documentary Winter TV Sneak Peek cancelled TV series E! gangster mutant dreamworks rotten movies we love A&E Marvel crossover Rock Best Director sports young adult cancelled Pirates Comedy Central ABC Family superhero Disney+ Disney Plus Black History Month monster movies psychological thriller quibi Marvel Studios Spectrum Originals 71st Emmy Awards anime Lucasfilm james bond See It Skip It science fiction comics TV One Oscar HBO TNT adventure Fargo YouTube black comedy Biopics sequel Super Bowl stoner rt archives criterion Kids & Family boxing Tomatazos 2020 Horror nbcuniversal asian-american MTV Discovery Channel Amazon Prime directors 2017 boxoffice strong female leads Trailer Watching Series comic Wes Anderson The Arrangement Star Wars Teen VICE Dark Horse Comics Fall TV lord of the rings Exclusive Video series football Hulu venice genre golden globes Freeform supernatural critics halloween foreign Instagram Live Best Actress children's TV Mary Poppins Returns cults zombie Hear Us Out VOD new star wars movies satire Comic Book Paramount Plus Sundance TV Best Actor finale Photos heist movie Netflix Christmas movies TCA green book technology MSNBC dogs TIFF Bravo 2016 NBA Apple TV Plus talk show Awards MCU live event psycho National Geographic indiana jones San Diego Comic-Con sopranos Peacock Summer 2018 Lionsgate anthology biography Marvel Television Western TCM Musicals animated NYCC leaderboard deadpool independent Song of Ice and Fire Anna Paquin wonder woman TCA Winter 2020 free movies X-Men sequels IFC Films elevated horror Pet Sematary First Reviews Broadway singing competition unscripted canceled TV shows 79th Golden Globes Awards joker 93rd Oscars medical drama Comic-Con@Home 2021 dexter Trivia Fox Searchlight 45 DirecTV Vudu mockumentary Shondaland Columbia Pictures reboot E3 festival mob spy thriller miniseries cartoon Trophy Talk Turner Classic Movies Cosplay hispanic ID BAFTA Grammys Baby Yoda canceled war MGM Holidays Superheroe target Brie Larson a nightmare on elm street werewolf Heroines spanish BET Awards Superheroes Apple TV+ summer TV FX on Hulu 2019 2021 Best and Worst Certified Fresh TruTV ESPN blockbuster parents summer preview Logo CNN SundanceTV 72 Emmy Awards saw dc Reality Tubi CMT scene in color child's play Captain marvel Arrowverse Nat Geo obi wan The Academy 94th Oscars classics olympics Film Video Games marvel comics Acorn TV movies Mystery Starz italian Paramount Network BBC One universal monsters ratings twilight slasher festivals Television Academy USA Network jamie lee curtis Nickelodeon Oscars cars hidden camera zero dark thirty superman casting tv talk comic book movie chucky IMDb TV Best Picture Crunchyroll Fox News prank Adult Swim Neflix Shudder Mindy Kaling Film Festival CW Seed disaster slashers Rom-Com witnail TLC films Holiday halloween tv binge serial killer new zealand Amazon Countdown A24 FX Chilling Adventures of Sabrina robots comiccon game show The Witch Valentine's Day dramedy 24 frames worst movies legend Focus Features Mary poppins ABC Image Comics Sundance NBC basketball Universal Pictures Esquire worst Walt Disney Pictures comic books docudrama emmy awards BBC Action FXX Ellie Kemper australia BBC America high school The Walt Disney Company richard e. Grant renewed TV shows Hollywood Foreign Press Association scorecard remakes Pride Month DC Comics streaming movies screen actors guild USA latino justice league Quiz pirates of the caribbean Showtime cancelled TV shows screenings crime hollywood mcc new york American Society of Cinematographers SXSW 2022 game of thrones spider-verse name the review popular Warner Bros. Winners aliens YA TCA 2017 vs. stop motion Rocketman 99% summer TV preview action-comedy zombies Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt DGA LGBT Legendary Tags: Comedy Universal archives Star Trek marvel cinematic universe Disney Channel streamig Toys