Q: How did you become involved in the production side of CHAPTER 27? Were you cast in the role first, or were you involved in production from the beginning?
A: It all happened simultaneously. It was an unique opportunity to participate in a different way. But my main focus was the definitely the role. Secondary was helping, if I could, to bring the directors vision to life. The producers were very kind to let me apprentice, in a way, throughout the process.
Q: You obviously put on a lot of weight for your role as Mark David Chapman. Was that a difficult decision to make? Why did you choose not to just wear a â??fatsuitâ??
A: It wasn’t a difficult decision at all. I would say the difficulty came after the decision was made. It was important to take on the physical challenges of this transformational experience as well as the psychological/emotional. The weight helped indicate many things about the character for me. Although it was a very important and obvious part of the process it was still just one part of the overall journey. And one that I am definitely very happy to be finished with.
Q: You also adopted a sort of whiny, southern accent for the role. Did you have to watch footage of Mark David Chapman to really take on his persona accurately?
A: His voice was very specific. Jarrett and I spent a lot of time discussing his voice and the importance of including it in the performance. I spend most days for months listening to archival tapes and interviews of his voice. Also while in Decatur, Georgia I found someone who had a very similar accent. That proved invaluable.
Yes, archival footage was very important and very helpful. It taught me a lot about who he was. I studied everything I could about his behavior from the inside to the out.
Q: Why do you think CHAPTER 27 documented only the weekend before John Lennonâ??s murder as opposed to delving further into MDCâ??s life or psyche?
A: Probably best to ask director Jarrett Schaefer about this but he had a very specific vision for the film which I thought was incredibly interesting and non-traditional.
CHAPTER 27 opens this Friday, March 28 at the Angelika New York. Leto will be attending the 8:00pm and 10:20pm shows on both Friday, 3/28 and Saturday, 3/29. Don’t miss it!