Jared Leto may have the forgiveness of time on his side when it comes to audiences forgetting all about the rather bad 2007 Mark David Chapman biopic Chapter 27, but the present may once again reveal his incapability of going above and beyond reincarnating certain personalities beyond merely the physical. Because, yes, he might be the only actor ever to have undergone a drastic weight gain without any sort of major nomination acknowledgement. Like not even by the Golden Globes. That’s really saying something.
Though some tried to defend the merit of Chapter 27 for its uncomfortableness–of making the viewer feel somewhat as though he was inside the head of a madman–what can’t be argued is Leto’s performance essentially coasting on an altered aesthetic and the use of J.D. Salinger’s words warped into an extremely bad version of Chapman’s accent. But it’s still probably not as bad as Natalie Portman’s Jackie O in Jackie. In truth, it’s actually Lindsay Lohan’s performance as John Lennon fan Jude Hanson (Jude, of course) that serves as the most interesting to watch in its minimalism. And as one of the only mementos we may ever have of her acting in a “serious film” other than Bobby (The Canyons definitely doesn’t count).
Regardless of the film’s condemnation from the likes of Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon–though that was about the tastelessness of glorifying a murder more than merely a commentary on the performance–Leto has decided to try his hand (or body) at another, perhaps somewhat slightly less hated (well, that’s debatable with the juggernaut of feminism being what it is) icon–Hugh Hefner. Though the silk robed lothario’s corpse is barely cold, Hollywood’s got no time to waste when it comes to drawing in what’s left of the “mass audience” at the box office. And with Brett Ratner (who once bragged of boning Lohan for added “no degrees of separation” effect regarding this collaboration) set to direct, one thing that’s for certain is that it’s sure to have just the right amount of sleaze for a narrative about Hef’s life. When looked at from this bent, Leto might just be the perfect casting choice after all.