Jared Leto has never been one to play by the rules. With his pretty boy looks and rockstar voice, the 44 year old actor took an unconventional route to stardom, successfully balancing unusual roles in the likes of Dallas Buyers Club and Requiem For A Dream alongside a career in music. Also, he never ages, suggesting that Leto could actually be a vampire of sorts.
It says a lot about an actor when their most mainstream role to date is the Joker, a villain whose creative and disturbing approach to evil is no laughing matter. Reports of Leto scaring fellow actors on set with used condoms and dead pig carcasses have unfortunately veered the discussion away from Jared's effectiveness in the role somewhat.
However, most of the reviews ultimately still praise Leto's performance in Suicide Squad, despite the film failing to impress fans who hoped Ayer's first comic book movie would be the best DCEU film yet.
One of the reasons that the Joker transcends the standard moustache-twiddling villain of the week is his unpredictable personality. Over the years, this has led many to question the character's sexuality, which appears to veer wildly across the spectrum depending on who is playing the Clown Prince of Crime at any given time.
Is Jared Leto Gay?
Leto himself has fuelled rumors regarding his own sexuality for years during interviews too. As an actor who often chooses to play characters whose orientation deviates from the norm, it's interesting to hear the actor's take on LGBT issues in Hollywood today. Unfortunately, it's not as positive as fans might have hoped for.
In an interview with GQ Style, Leto revealed that he believes an actor's sexuality still directly affects their chances of landing major roles in Hollywood, despite the progress that's been made in recent years:
“I definitely don’t think a gay leading man would have the same opportunities as a straight leading man. I don’t know if that’s offensive or not, but that’s my thought right now. It shouldn’t be that way.”
It's Not Just LGBT Actors Who Face Adversity In Hollywood
Leto continued by discussing the general difficulties that minorities face working in Hollywood today, which has been made particularly evident this year with the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and the ongoing problem of whitewashing in mainstream cinema.
"I think you could say the same for minorities. What a word, 'minority.' Have we taken that word off the list yet? ‘Cause it should be. Anyway, no, I think that this is still a very conservative business."
Leto's comments raise a lot of difficult questions about LGBT representation in Hollywood. On the one hand, progress is clearly being made — More celebrities are revealing their sexuality than ever before and mainstream franchises such as Star Trek and Star Wars are finally beginning to embrace gay characters onscreen, but there are still huge obstacles that LGBT representation faces.
What Obstacles Do Gay Actors Face In Hollywood?
Star Trek: Beyond's decision to represent Sulu as gay this summer was met with widespread controversy and huge studios like Marvel and Disney have yet to include LGBT characters in their films. Of course, there's a strong argument for not introducing token gay characters or casting LGBT actors purely for the sake of it, but it's hard to deny that more diversity on and off screen would help improve tolerance on a wider scale.
There are a number of openly queer actors currently finding success in Hollywood, including Ian McKellen, Sarah Paulson and Suicide Squad's very own Cara Delevingne to name a few. Yet it's difficult to name any who have taken significant leading roles, suggesting that Leto's potentially inflammatory comments are true.
Let's hope that openly gay men such as Matt Bomer and Zachary Quinto will one day receive the same opportunities as their straight counterparts, winning roles that they deserve due to their talent, without either tokenism or homophobia coming into play.
As Leto himself said in the aforementioned interview with GQ;
"I think it’s okay just to be yourself and whatever that entails."
How do you feel about leading gay actors in Hollywood? Are they treated the same as their straight counterparts? Why is the sexuality of actors even an issue?