Jared Leto is set to star in and produce a biopic of Karl Lagerfeld, the iconic fashion designer whose career spanned more than 50 years. Lagerfeld, who died in Feb. 2019, is best known for his powerful role as artistic director of Chanel.
First reported by WWD, a sister publication to Variety, the project has already been endorsed by the Karl Lagerfeld fashion house.
The Oscar-winning actor will play the lead role, as well as produce the movie with Emma Ludbrook through their production vehicle Paradox. The project is still in early stages. A filmmaker is not yet attached to direct.
Leto told WWD that the movie will likely explore the designer’s “multitude of relationships.” “Karl had a career that spanned 50-plus years so both personally and professionally he was close to a number of people. I can say we are going to home in on key relationships that convey different parts of his life,” Leto said.
Leto has also brought on board three Lagerfeld’s long-time allies, Pier Paolo Righi, chief executive officer of the Karl Lagerfeld house since 2011; Caroline Lebar, SVP of image and communications at Karl Lagerfeld, and Sébastien Jondeau, who was his personal assistant and bodyguard. All three will executive produce the film.
“Karl has always been an inspiration to me,” Leto said in a statement. The actor described Lagerfeld as a “true polymath, an artist, an innovator, a leader and, most importantly, a kind man.”
“When we came together with the Karl Lagerfeld team, we immediately shared a creative vision of doing a respectful ode to Karl while pushing the artistic boundaries of what a biopic can be,” Leto continued.
Righi, CEO of the Karl Lagerfeld brand, said that “over the years, (they) have been approached by several Hollywood producers who suggested to partner on a movie about Karl’s iconic life.”
“It has been only since we met Jared and Emma that we felt truly confident about the story being told in the artistic way Karl would have loved to see. Throughout our conversations, we have created an equally trustful and inspiring creative relationship that will allow us to work together very fluidly on this beautiful project,” Righi continued.
The actor, who recently starred as Paolo Gucci in “House of Gucci,” is repped by WME.