Jared Leto, star of the upcoming Suicide Squad, will star in the action thriller The Outsider to be directed by Martin Zandvliet, the Hollywood Reporter stated today. Leto will play the role of an American soldier formerly imprisoned in Japan in the post World War II movie. In a story written by Andrew Baldwin, Jared plays a character who is released from his prison cell with the help of his Yakuza cellmate but soon learns that freedom comes with a price. In order to repay his debt, he will have to do some very bad things.
The Outsider is being produced by Waypoint Entertainment (who produced The Nice Guys, a new thriller by Shane Black that stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling) and Linson Entertainment (known for Fight Club and Heat as well as the upcoming Hostiles that stars Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike). This will be Martin Zandvliet’s first English-speaking film. For Leto, this is only the second role that Jared has taken on since his award-winning performance in The Dallas Buyers Club.
Leto is not only an accomplished actor, but also a talented songwriter and guitar player. In 1992, Leto began looking for work as a musician while at the same time starting a career in acting. The goal was to do just a few roles on the side to help fund his music. Jared’s first big break came two years later with the role of Jordan Catalano in the teen angst drama television series My So-Called Life with Claire Danes. The job allowed Leto to contribute on the show’s soundtrack as well. From there, Jared took roles for such films as How to Make an American Quilt (1995), The Last of the High Kings (1996), and Prefontaine (1997), with Leto playing the role of long-distance runner Steven Prefontaine. The latter two didn’t do well in theaters, but critics took notice of the bright blue-eyed actor.
In 1998, Jared founded the band 30 Seconds to Mars with his brother Shannon Leto while taking the lead role in the horror film Urban Legend and a supporting role in The Thin Red Line, which was nominated for seven Oscars. By then, Leto became to be known as an actor who was willing to be stretched. Jared began taking on more controversial roles in movies including American Psycho (2000) and Requiem for a Dream (2000) but some say that Leto’s most challenging role up to this point was Mr. Nobody (2009), in which Jared played the life of a 118-year-old man.
In 2013, Jared Leto surprised audiences again by playing the role of HIV positive transgender Rayon in The Dallas Buyers Club. Jared lost 39 pounds for the role as well as learning how to walk in heels and wear lipstick. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards with Leto winning the prize for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
This August, Leto will be taking on the legendary role of Batman’s worst foe, The Joker, in Suicide Squad, a role that Jared admitted to Entertainment Weekly was intimidating.
“The work that’s been done on this character by so many people before me has been so impactful, so incredible, so much fun, so profound, so risky, that it’s a very special thing to be asked to take on that responsibility. It’s a weighty thing to do. But it’s exciting. The Joker is one of those roles. He was written brilliantly when he was first shared with the world 75 years ago, or something crazy like that. And I think I’m just really grateful I had the opportunity … You just knew you had to do something different, You had to make it your own … In some ways it’s really interesting to reinterpret, redefine.”
Martin Zandvliet hopes to start shooting The Outsider with Jared Leto later this fall.
[Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images]