Celebrities are getting engaged and drinking each other’s blood. Elon Musk is a step closer to implanting brain chips into humans. Low-slung jeans are back (Julia Fox, have we not suffered enough?). We’re living through genuinely terrifying times. A never-ending hallway of horrors akin to Cassie's bathroom breakdown/screamfest on this week’s episode of Euphoria. But one thing has me particularly triggered as we near the end of what has been one of the most January Januaries on record.
Recently, Apple TV+ dropped the trailer for its new original series WeCrashed, all about the IRL love story at the centre of the rise and fall of co-working phenomenon WeWork, starring Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway as narcissistic CEO and founder Adam Neumann and his wife Rebekah. Based on the podcast WeCrashed: The Rise and Fall of WeWork, the show will dive into the drug-fuelled away days, gender discrimination, excessive spending and cult-like culture at the heart of the company. Yes, we love to see it – funnel the drama directly into our brains. But as I clicked on the trailer link, something struck me within two seconds and filled my whole body with dread. First and foremost, yet another utterly perplexing accent from Leto (this time, his take on Neumann’s Israeli accent). But there was something else. Face scrunched quizzically, I leaned into the screen and asked my boyfriend: "Do the pupils of his eyes look blacker?"
A slow sigh. "Yes, he’s probably wearing contact lenses."
"No, no… It’s not that…"
My nose was probably about an inch away from the screen at this point, eyes burning holes into the blur of Jared Leto pixels on my paused laptop screen. "He looks…different. I think he’s done something to his face. Has he? No, that’s his face… No, he definitely has done something."
Why the freakout? Actors transform themselves for roles all the time. They don borderline offensive accents and contact lenses, and put on and shed weight. Jared Leto is known as a somewhat seasoned connoisseur when it comes to onscreen shapeshifting (see Dallas Buyers Club, Requiem for a Dream, upcoming vamp flick Morbius). But when you’ve sat through what can only be described as the utter trauma of watching House of Gucci, which saw Leto gesticulate flamboyantly in a fat suit with an outlandish, "It's-a-me!" Super Mario Italian accent, you’ll understand why he’s public enemy number one when it comes to my distrust.
Don’t get me wrong. Obvious transformations are a thing to be marvelled at – whether it’s as a source of ridicule or astonishment. It’s these subtle transformations that unnerve me; the ever-so-slight gradient change into the uncanny. Leto's face looked undeniably more angular but I couldn’t be sure. I spent the next five minutes googling, with some sites confirming that the actor was wearing prosthetics for his new role and others stating that this was Leto’s face, sans prosthetics, au naturel. Well, which one is it? It’s happened. No one knows what Jared Leto’s face looks like anymore – a frankly cursed thing. Throughout the years, barely perceptible, subtle transformations will see him eventually blur in the public consciousness and, next thing you know, Sam Levinson will be casting him in the next season of Euphoria and we’ll be none the wiser.
What can we do about it? Absolutely nothing. Just accept our fate, surrender to the inevitable and tune in to see Jared Leto when it airs on Apple TV+ on March 18.