Jared Leto to Star in and Produce Karl Lagerfeld Biopic

Jared Leto will star as Karl Lagerfeld in an upcoming biopic about the iconic designer’s life. He will also produce the film with Emma Ludbrook through their production company Paradox. Lagerfeld was a renowned fashion designer best known for his role as artistic director of Chanel from 1983 until his death in 2019. Women’s Wear Daily broke the news. In a statement to the outlet, Leto said:

“I feel like this is a full-circle moment, and Karl would be proud of what we are doing. Karl was an artist. Period. He was a fashion designer, he was a photographer, he was an artist. There was no defining him. He was a creative powerhouse.” He continued: “There are a multitude of relationships to explore. 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 hone in on key relationships that convey different parts of his life.”

The upcoming film has full support from the Karl Lagerfeld fashion house. Leto has brought on three members of the late designer’s inner circle who will serve as executive producers: Pier Paolo Righi, who has been Lagerfeld’s fashion house chief executive for over ten years; senior vice president of image and communications Caroline Lebar, who worked closely with the designer for 35 years; and Sébastien Jondeau, who worked as personal assistant and bodyguard for Lagerfeld for 20 years and is now a Style Consultant for the label. The film is in early development stages and few details are known. No director or additional cast have been announced.


Lagerfeld died in 2019, at 88, after a successful career that spanned over five decades. Besides working with Chanel, he created his own label and collaborated with other luxury fashion houses including Fendi and Chloé. Lagerfeld was known for his recognizable style which typically included high-collared shirts and large black sunglasses.Last week, Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced the theme of the 2023 Costume Institute Exhibition and Met Gala will be Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty.

Leto Hopes to Show Lagerfeld’s True Self

Leto, who is known for method acting, says he hopes to portray the late designer with authenticity:

“My role is to portray him on screen as honestly as possible. With celebrity, most people don’t get to see under the surface. They see one or two facets of a person as presented through a public lens. Karl was a human being. We all have beauty within us and we all have faults. We have masks and then we have moments when we reveal the mask. I’m always interested in seeing what’s behind the mask.”

The actor recently appeared in another film about one of the most recognizable fashion brands in the world, portraying Paolo Gucci in House of Gucci. Leto made his acting debut in the short-lived 1994 drama series My So-Called Life before making memorable appearances in films including American Psycho, Fight Club, Requiem for a Dream, Suicide Squad, Chapter 27, Blade Runner, and Girl, Interrupted. In 2014, he was the recipient of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club. He will next appear as the Hat-Box Ghost in Disney’s Haunted Mansion.