It's safe to say that Sir Ridley Scott's new film House of Gucci includes some pretty big performances – with everyone from Lady Gaga to Al Pacino giving it just about everything they've got.

But perhaps the most memorable performance of all is Jared Leto's flamboyant, prosthetic-heavy turn as Paolo Gucci, which has already seen some pundits tip the star for his second Oscar.

Leto chews just about every inch of the scenery in the true-life melodrama, and in an exclusive interview with he explained that legendary director Scott gave him lots of leeway to go as wild as he wanted with the role.

"In some ways it's surprising, because he's such a master you would think that he may not... you know, he is very specific, he knows exactly what he wants," he said.

"But he also enjoys the actors, enjoys creating room and giving freedom to take chances. And Paolo was all about taking chances. I told him very early on that I was just going to go nuts if I did this. And I wanted to hear him say, you know, give the stamp of approval for that. And he stayed true to his word, and really just took off the cuffs and let the inmates run the asylum for a little while."

It sounds like Leto received lots of positive feedback from Scott during filming, with the actor explaining how the director approached him with words of encouragement very early on in the process.

"Ridley came up to me after the very first take," he said. "And he grabbed me by the shoulders, and he said, 'My boy, you're flying!' It's just such a nice, beautiful sentiment, and yeah, I'm really, really grateful to him for the opportunity."

Although Paolo is often a source of comic relief in the film – both for the audience and the other characters – there is very much an element of sadness to his arc as well, and Leto explained that blending the comedy and the tragedy of the character came naturally to him.

"The heart and the humour were hand-in-hand for me," he said. "And it was an absolute pleasure to bring to life that guy that had so much passion for life and living and his art, his creativity. I really enjoyed it. And it was obviously a huge physical transformation, huge emotional, mental, spiritual, psychological transformation. But it was a dream for me."

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House of Gucci opens in UK cinemas on 26th November 2021. Looking for something to watch on telly this evening? We’ve got you covered. Check out our TV Guide or visit our dedicated Movies hub for the latest film news and recommendations.