Today, while having a conversation about Jared Leto, I was told that the Morbius actor is “like, 50 or something.” I laughed at the suggestion — just look at him. That’s preposterous! Given his taut skin, un-creased eyes and flowing, grayless hair, dude is probably 37, maybe 42 at most. But then I Googled it, and saw that Leto was born on December 26, 1971. That makes him 50 years old. I let out an audible scream at the discovery.
Throughout most of his career, Leto has played a man roughly between the ages of 30 and 35. In his latest television show, WeCrashed, he plays WeWork founder Adam Neumann from age 30 to 39, with much of the show taking place right in the middle. In 2000’s American Psycho, he played Paul Allen, a character who’s ostensibly in his late 20s and early 30s. For all intents and purposes, Leto has managed to play characters of the same age, 22 years apart.
Maybe a congrats is in order. Maybe I should be impressed by Leto’s aesthetic youth. Instead, I find this all to be deeply sinister.
What is it about Jared Leto that elicits this feeling of suspicion? I don’t harbor the same feelings toward Paul Rudd, who has similarly managed to pass for 35 for the last two decades or more. Unlike Leto, however, Rudd doesn’t give off the impression that he participates in blood sacrifices, nor has he been accused of having a preference for teenage girls or getting so into method acting that he becomes a menace to those around him. Perhaps Rudd’s image maintenance seems more endearing simply because he’s more endearing than Leto, and an overall more likable person.
On a basic level, it seems as though Rudd has managed to maintain the same look by luck and healthy habits, whereas Leto has managed to maintain his youthfulness by either absorbing the souls of children or really, really trying to look young. Other male actors of this general age group, like Steve Carell or Mark Ruffalo, look their actual age, letting their grays blend with their remaining hair color, and are no less handsome. There’s something rather appealing, actually, about allowing oneself to age gracefully, without the facade of facial fillers and eyes that don’t crinkle when they smile.
Whether Leto has had any cosmetic procedures done is a matter of pure speculation, though it seems plausible. And that’s fine — if it’s normal for celebrity women to have Botox and plastic surgery to feel more comfortable with their appearance, it should be normal for men to do the same.
But I do wish that Leto would just… look 50. There’s nothing wrong with looking your age, and while he’d almost definitely still be a bad person if he let himself go, appearance-wise, he’d probably also still be conventionally attractive. That said, in the context of him being a bad person — particularly one who maybe cultivates relationships with girls as young as 15 or 16 — his thirtysomething look feels downright predatory. Jared Leto, who are you trying to look 32 for? Don’t you know that 32 would still be far too old for an underage girl?
It’s not my job to do damage control or image repair for Leto, but he should at least let some of those grays come through. His brunette blowout has ventured into the uncanny valley. As some have hypothesized, humans developed a sense of the uncanny as an evolutionary instinct to protect us from some type of threat. Maybe, considering what we know of him, it’s better that we perceive Leto as such.