February 25, 2014


Jared Leto on 'Dallas Buyers' Role: "Rayon Lived as a Woman, Not a Drag Queen"

Michael Tran/FilmMagic
Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Not long after Jared Leto coolly addressed a heckler who told him "trans misogyny does not deserve an award," the singer-actor has shed more light on Rayon, the HIV-positive trans woman he plays in Dallas Buyers Club, a role that's earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nom.

The 30 Seconds to Mars frontman told Flaunt magazine that Rayon was initially presented to him as a Marc Bolan-esque, glam rock-inspired character by the film's director, a conceptualization he actively opposed. "I made it very clear early on that I saw Rayon as a man who wanted to live his life as a woman, not someone who enjoyed putting on women’s clothing," Leto told Flaunt.

During this interview, Leto revealed that he worked to tone down Rayon's love of glam rock icon Marc Bolan (of T. Rex) in the film. "If they wanted that kind of performance—anything glam, or anything drag queen-y—I wasn't the person for the part," Leto said. "The Marc Bolan element and the glam rock element of the film was the director's [Jean-Marc Vallée] contribution. I actually opposed that."

Leto said his insight into the complex role comes from his connection with Rayon. "I feel like she became a person, a real person," he said. "Especially because I was so deep inside of her. I really feel like I got to know this person. It became like a living, breathing life. It was a once-in-a-lifetime role."

The 30STM singer is up against tough competition for Best Supporting Actor, including Bradley Cooper in American Hustle and Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave at the 2014 Academy Awards. Pharrell, Pink, Karen O and more will perform at the March 2 ceremony.