“It’s about respect,” Leto said, already wearing a pair of silk pyjamas and exuding a sense of unpleasant stickiness. “Starting with Marilyn Monroe in the first issue, Playboy’s success was built on naked photos of famous women published without consent and without compensation. I owe it to Hef to build my portrayal of him on the same kind of exploitation.”
Leto doesn’t know yet which women he’ll be exploiting for the sake of his art, but since intimate photos of Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway, Miley Cyrus and Kristen Stewart have already been released without their permission, he knows he’ll be hard pressed to find an A-lister who hasn’t already been violated in this way.
“To fully embody Hef, I can’t just publish images that were hacked,” Leto explained between auditions for the teenage blondes who will be living with him for the next year. “I need to find photos these women willingly posed for BEFORE they were famous, when they were young and desperate. That’s the Playboy way.”
Leto, known for sending dead rats, anal beads, bullets and used condoms to his costars while playing The Joker in Suicide Squad, is no stranger to making others suffer for his performances. “The ideal,” he said, “would be for one of these women to beg me, as a friend, not to release the photos, like Vanna White did before Hef humiliated her. That’s how you make art.”
Following the Hefner biopic, Leto is considering playing the role of prolific cannibal serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.