Jared Leto Almost Went to the Oscars in Drag as His Dallas Buyers Club Character

Celebrity Style Mar. 24, 2014 AT 11:25AM
Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club Jared Leto says he thought about going to the 2014 Oscars in drag, as an homage to his transgendered Dallas Buyers Club character, Rayon Credit: Anne Marie Fox/Focus Features

What would Rayon wear to the Academy Awards? Jared Leto's Dallas Buyers Club character very nearly made an appearance at the 2014 Oscars on March 2 -- and not just in clips from the movie. In a new interview with the U.K.'s Evening Standard, Leto, 42, says he considered showing up to Hollywood's biggest night in drag, as an homage to the transgendered woman he played onscreen.

"I thought about dragging up for the Oscars, going as Rayon, because I knew that she would have loved to be there," the Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner tells the Standard. "It's so much work for girls to get ready. I was brought up by my mum, so I always had an appreciation of women. But now I have more respect for the process. It's a lot, what women have to do to themselves. But in the end, when you put that final dash of lipstick on and your look all comes together, it really is a glorious reward." 

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Ultimately, Leto opted to go as himself, in a white Saint Laurent tux jacket with black pants and a red Monsieur Jean Yves Paris bowtie. (Not to mention his famous, flowing locks!) But he found another way to make an impression during the ceremony. "I don't [care about awards]. But I would never say, 'I don't give a s--t about the Oscars,' because it's not the whole truth. It's not about the shiny, naked golden man, or the pat on the back," he explains. "It's about being able to stand on a world stage for two minutes in front of a billion people and say something that is meaningful, important to you."

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The Thirty Seconds to Mars frontman used his time wisely. During his speech, he called attention not only to his mom, Constance, and brother Shannon (both of whom escorted him to the show) but also to those living with HIV/AIDS, outsiders, and people fighting for freedom in Venezuela and Ukraine. "I could have really taken the piss. But I didn't want to wing it with this one," he says. "I prepared. I wanted to keep it classy."

Preparation was a big part of filming Dallas Buyers Club, too, the My So-Called Life alum notes. To get into character as Rayon, he lost 30 pounds from his already-slim frame -- which his interviewer suggests might be self-destructive.

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"All my roles are masochistic or...sadistic. Is that going to be your headline?" he teases. "'Jared Leto: masochist or sadist? You decide.'"

Of course, his transformation wasn't just physical. Prior to slipping on Rayon's tights and heels, Leto researched the lifestyle he would be portraying. "I became a detective, I met with transgendered people, I asked questions: 'What was it like to tell your parents?' 'What's it like to be judged?'" he explains. "You don't have to desire the surgery to have your penis cut off, but you do have to understand it. We all have issues with our identity, or know what it's like not to belong."

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