No joke. Oscar winning actor Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) most recently premiered his interpretation of the infamous DC Comics villain The Joker in the summer smash Suicide Squad (along with, rather infamously, creating some backstage drama with his Method-infused take on the role) but an upcoming project appears to be setting in motion a perhaps even more iconic characterization for the perfomer. News broke early Tuesday that Leto may be headlining an upcoming biopic of famed pop artist and pop cultural iconoclast Andy Warhol. Leto will likely also produce the film alongside Michael De Luca (The Social Network), with a script to be penned by Terence Winter (Oscar nominated for The Wolf of Wall Street). As of now, it appears no director is attached.
The film, currently entitled Warhol, will be using Victor Bockris’s 1989 book, Warhol: The Biography as a starting point – reportedly, both Leto and De Luca jointly bought rights to the book – and will tell one of the defining artistic stories of the 20th century. Warhol famously made a splash in the art scene in the 1960s, while taking aim at America’s consumerism. Iconic works include his Campbell’s soup cans and brightly splashed celebrity portraits – takes on Marilyn Monroe are particularly famous. More than just the art world, Warhol was a fixture of music (managing Lou Reed’s Velvet Underground for a time), avant-garde cinema as well as New York society. The film will also likely explore Warhol’s sexuality – he was openly gay in a time far less forgiving – and his personal life.
While Warhol has been a supporting character in many films – notably Basquiat (where he was played by David Bowie), Factory Girl (played by Guy Pearce) and the recent Terence Winter co-created HBO show Vinyl (played by John Cameron Mitchell). Jared Harris (Mad Men, Lincoln) also portrayed Warhol in the notable 90s indie I Shot Andy Warhol, which centered on one of The Factory artists who attempted to kill him in 1968. Despite this representation, a definitive screen take on Warhol really hasn’t happened yet.
With the talents of De Luca (whose résumé includes varied works including Moneyball, Captain Phillips and the Fifty Shades franchise), Winter and Leto, Warhol may just be that. Leto, who before winning an Oscar and taking on The Joker, previously committed hard to the 2007 bio Chapter 27, gaining 67 pounds to portray John Lennon killer Mark David Chapman. Leto is currently filming the as of yet untitled Blade Runner sequel for director Denis Villeneuve. No dates have yet been outlined for Warhol.
We shall stay tuned.