December 14, 2013

Jared Leto Heard the Good News on a Bus




December 12, 2013, 4:38 pm


Actor? Musician?

“Dreamer,” replied Jared Leto, who learned of his Golden Globe nomination for his performance as the transgendered Rayon in “Dallas Buyers Club” when he was “awoken from a very deep slumber in my little bunk on a tour bus in the middle of somewhere between Chicago and St. Louis.”

Until “Dallas Buyers Club,” Mr. Leto — all flowing locks and soulful eyes — was most recently making headlines as the frontman for Thirty Seconds to Mars, his band with his brother, Shannon Leto, and Tomo Milicevic. Its fourth album, “Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams” was released in May, with “Up in the Air” earning an MTV Video Music Award for best rock video.

It was in Berlin that Mr. Leto received the call suggesting he read the “Dallas” script, a repeated plea he ignored until he no longer could. “I hadn’t made a film in almost six years,” he said. “I had been touring incessantly with the band, and we’d had more success than we’d ever imagined.”

But finally persuaded to take a look at Rayon, the business partner of Matthew McConaughey’s HIV-positive Texas good old boy, “I fell in love with her spirit, her heart, her grace, her humor and also the challenge,” he said of the role, for which he shed more than 30 pounds and removed the heavy signature eyebrows that have caused a thousand hearts to swoon. “I had to shed my skin and become — I guess I had to birth myself again. It was a complete physical and emotional transformation, from my painted toes to my waxed body to my numerous wigs.”

Stephen Holden, writing in The Times, called out Mr. Leto as “always a subtle and intriguing actor” but suggested that Rayon, perhaps meant to “inject both a dash of camp and a surge of pathos into the movie” helped instead “to confine it to the realm of simple and sentimental melodrama.”

Mr. Leto, 41, sees Rayon as not unlike his portrayal of the Brighton Beach heroin addict Harry Goldfarb in Darren Aronofsky’s “Requiem for a Dream,” among the most vividly harrowing of his roles. “I think they had a lot in common,” Mr. Leto said. “They were both people with big hearts and bigger dreams, people who were trapped in circumstances beyond their control. When you push yourself toward the edge, when you stand on that precipice, you learn a lot about yourself. You learn what you’re capable of, and sometimes what you’re not. You learn that you can do the seemingly impossible.”

That seemingly impossible included recording “Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams” simultaneously while filming “Dallas Buyers Club” during a year that included tour stops at the biggest sites in the band’s history and production of the documentary “Artifact,” about the band’s battle against the record label EMI, which Mr. Leto directed under the pseudonym Bartholomew Cubbins, one of his favorite Dr. Seuss characters.

“I have a friend who says that if you want something done, give it to the busiest person in the room,” he said.


Source: The New York Times.


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