Jared Leto Said His Most Extreme Movie Isn’t as Shocking as Video Games: ‘It’s a Fu*k You’

Jared Leto has led a wild movie career. The Oscar-winning actor has appeared in countless movies since making his film debut in 1995’s How to Make an American Quilt. And while Leto admitted he doesn’t watch his own movies, he made a film so extreme that many other people have chosen to only watch a single time. Remarkably, the actor once came to that movie’s defense, comparing it to the “shocking” video games he believed were more damaging.

Jared Leto poses in black as a crowd looks on
Jared Leto | Alexis DUCLOS/Gamma-Rapho

Jared Leto has starred in several movies that shocked moviegoers

Leto’s movie career is filled with shocking choices. Naturally, his Oscar-winning role as a transgender woman in Dallas Buyers Club courted controversy. And his interpretation of the Joker in 2016’s Suicide Squad left fans divided, particularly as the next live-action movie featuring the character since Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.

But in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Leto gave supporting performances in several much-talked-about movies. These include such bold films as Fight Club, Girl, Interrupted, and American Psycho. But he followed that string of controversial movies with arguably the most extreme of the bunch: 2000’s Requiem for a Dream.

RELATED: Jared Leto Explains Why He Has To Take Hiatuses Between Films — ‘They Take a Lot Out of Me’

But the actor once came to an unexpected defense of this 2000 movie

That 2000 movie — directed by Darren Aronofsky — features a harrowing depiction of drug addiction. Star Ellen Burstyn earned an Oscar nomination for her role, and she, Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans all have dark, disturbing moments designed to shock and leave an impact on viewers. But Leto told ABC News that’s the point.

“It’s not a Hollywood cinematic, melodramatic experience. It’s a fu-k you. The film tells you to fu-k off countless times. It spits in your face and tells you to keep watching. It’s a challenging and difficult film that’s not for the teen pop world. … I wanted to understand who this guy was, so I lived on the streets in New York. It was fascinating to get that close to [drug addiction], and it’s heartbreaking to see what people go through. …

[The movie] shows the hypocrisy we’re surrounded by. And the fact that it stops people from seeing the movie is disappointing, because I’d love for people to see it. This movie is unrated because of a sexual problem that they had with it. I don’t think this movie is for children, but I think if you went home and looked at the video games that your kids are playing, you’d be much more shocked.”

Of course, one’s reactions to Requiem for a Dream may vary. But to Leto’s point, the movie’s violence and other mature content certainly aren’t senseless. Its controversy serves the story at hand, allowing it to make a definitive statement about drug addiction.

Jared Leto joins the Marvel universe in his latest movie, ‘Morbius’

For his latest movie, Leto appeals far more directly to a wide audience. In fact, after playing the villainous Joker in the DC Extended Universe, he’s heading over to Marvel. In Morbius, the actor plays a doctor whose attempts to cure his own rare blood disease go awry. He becomes a “living vampire” and, ultimately, an enemy to Spider-Man.

Morbius is Sony’s second attempt to turn a Spider-Man villain into a standalone film franchise. 2018’s Venom — starring Tom Hardy — became a surprise hit, leading to a 2021 sequel. And if Morbius performs similarly, perhaps Leto could become a recurring presence in upcoming Marvel films. Only time will tell at this point.

RELATED: Jared Leto Once Revealed He Found Playing The Joker ‘Painful’ in ‘Suicide Squad’