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Jared Leto

Thursday, September 14, 2000

 

The starving artist

Jared Leto still recovering from Requiem For A Dream

By BRUCE KIRKLAND
Toronto Sun

TORONTO -- The robin's egg blue polish is chipping off the nails of actor Jared Leto's long, graceful fingers.

 "Jeez, I need a manicure," he teases yesterday at the Toronto filmfest, where Leto's career-making performance in Darren Aronofsky's surrealistic drug drama, Requiem For A Dream, is making waves.

 Leto's muscle mass is slowly rebuilding. By starving himself for two months before the film shoot, he lost 28 of his 153 pounds. He began to look desperate and strung-out enough to play the pathetic, if charming, Coney Island smack freak Harry Goldfarb in Requiem.

 Leto -- Cameron Diaz's latest flame and best known for striking support roles in American Psycho, Black And White, Fight Club and Girl Interrupted -- is back to about 145 pounds and he looks healthy, if rapier thin. But his legs are still skinny. Muscle is difficult to restore, especially on a lean young man who doesn't spend time at the gym.

 "This film was a good opportunity for me to go out there and to try push myself a little bit," Leto says as a half-eaten plate of food sits on the table in front of him, a reminder that he has still not returned to form.

 "But who knows if it was worth it to lose all that weight. Hopefully, it helped somehow."

 First trying the high-protein diet, which meant cutting out carbs, then cutting every meal in half no matter what it was, and then finally just going to a menu of raw vegetables, Leto lost the weight and surrendered to Harry Goldfarb.

 "I didn't eat meals for weeks. I just nibbled, and nothing bigger than a little piece, not even a mouthful. I wouldn't be able to do this ever again, I think because I couldn't even imagine doing it.

 "But I did it because I really felt that this was going to give me some clue into Harry, my character. And yeah, I think it did. Harry and everyone in the film (his co-stars are Marlon Wayans, Jennifer Connelly and veteran Ellen Burstyn, who plays his mother) are in a constant state of craving. I decided I never wanted to have to act that part.

 "So I would go and watch people eat. I would get a buzz out of it. I would walk around the grocery store on a Saturday for an hour or two and just look at food. The big treat was that I would steal one or two cashews -- I'd have a big guilt out of that -- out of the bulk bins and I would taste the fat in them and go into a reverie."

 The result is a committed performance in a tough film.

 "I think Requiem For A Dream is a challenging film," Leto offers. "It is a horrifying film. It is provocative. It is shocking. But I think that you walk away with more than a belly full of popcorn and the feeling of being sedated.

 "This film, it's whole-grain, man, it's not Wonder Bread."

Wednesday January 27, 1999

 

Jared Leto and his life
By JIM SLOTEK -- Toronto Sun

Jared Leto (My So-Called Life) looks to be coming back to Toronto, almost a year after filming the teen slasher flick Urban Legend here.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, he's joining the cast of American Psycho, the adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel that starts filming here in March. Leto plays Paul Owen, yuppie best friend of serial killer Patrick Bateman

Monday, September 28, 1998

 

His so-called life's on a roll

Small TV part leads to busy film career

By LOUIS B. HOBSON -- Calgary Sun

Jared Leto has very little time these days to enjoy his so-called life.

In the teen horror flick Urban Legend, the darkly handsome 26-year-old actor plays a college journalism student trying to solve a series of grisly murders.

He's currently filming Fight Club in New York, an edgy drama about illegal boxing matches starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton.

Before that he was in England with Christian Slater and Claire Forlani shooting the gothic thriller Basil and was on duty for several weeks with Sean Penn filming a cameo role in Terrence Malick's war epic The Thin Red Line. He has the distinction of being the first person to die in a combat movie that features such superstars as John Travolta, George Clooney, Woody Harrelson and Nick Nolte.

"I knew acting would take over my life if I really wanted a career," explains Leto, who was 20 before he decided to relocate to L.A. and start auditioning for films and TV.

He was born in Kansas. He and his older brother, Shannon, were raised by their mother.

She had never married their father and the family didn't keep in touch with him.

"Our little family travelled around a lot. We lived in towns in Louisiana, Virginia, Colorado and Wyoming, but we also lived in South America and Haiti.

"It was great growing up a nomad. To this day I still love hiking and back packing."

Leto lives in San Francisco with his dog, "the only person I'm linked to these days. I don't seem to have time for a serious relationship."

After Leto arrived in L.A. seven years ago, it took considerable pavement pounding before he was cast as Jordan Catalano on My So-Called Life.

"My part was very small on My So-Called Life, but the show got a lot of attention."

While his Life co-star Claire Danes was filming Little Women, Romeo and Juliet and The Rainmaker, he was making Last of the High Kings with Gabriel Byrne in Ireland, Switchback with Dennis Quaid and Prefontaine in which he played the title character.

Though Leto was praised for his performance as the ill-fated track star Steve Prefontaine, his movie went straight to video.

It was overshadowed by Tom Cruise's Prefontaine movie called Without Limits, starring Billy Crudup. It will be released in October.

"I put my heart and soul into that movie, but we didn't have the same kind of money to work with as Tom Cruise.

"I wish more people had seen it but it was still a very rewarding experience for me. I got to meet Steve's family."

It was Leto's film that the Prefontaine family endorsed. They refused to meet with Cruise and his people.

Though Leto is an earnest, serious interview, his co-stars say he is a real practical joker.

They say he orchestrated dozens of tricks to frighten them on Urban Legends.

"It was only after we'd finished the movie that I discovered the girls tried to get back at me. They all hid in my room to scare me one night.

"I didn't go back to my room that night.

"They're convinced somebody warned me, but I honestly didn't know."

Leto insists it's important that the actors and crew have fun when they're working on a horror film.

"Horror movies are all about finding ways to trick an audience into being frightened. It's not about exploring deep things about your characters.

It affords actors the opportunity to have a fun time on a set without being irresponsible."

Tuesday, October 28, 1997

 

Leto learns fast
By LISA WILTON -- Calgary Sun

BEVERLY HILLS -- Unlike his character in Switchback, Jared Leto's career isn't hanging by a thread.

In fact, the ruggedly handsome 25-year-old is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after young actors in Hollywood.

He has already starred as Olympic long-distance runner Steve Prefontaine in Prefontaine, as well as the lead in the upcoming gothic drama, Basil.

However, it's his role as Lane Dixon, the young drifter in the action thriller Switchback -- opening Oct. 31 in Calgary -- that may make Leto a household name.

"It was intimidating," admits Leto of his first few days sharing the set with veteran stars Dennis Quaid and Danny Glover.

"I had never made a really big movie before, but the actors were so nice, charismatic and generous.

"Danny Glover, who I did most of my scenes with, is not only a great actor but a nice, gracious human being."

Dixon is a disillusioned doctor hitchhiking across the U.S., unaware he is being tracked by FBI agent Frank LaCrosse (Quaid), who thinks Dixon is a serial-killer.

In one of the film's most harrowing scenes, Leto had to hang from a cliff 28 metres above the ground strapped into a body harness and cable.

"That was pretty fun," he recalls with a smile. "It was pretty intense, but the stunt guys were so amazing. They were doing backflips all over the place, so I trusted them and decided to just enjoy it.

"It's all about safety with those guys. I thought if they were doing it, I'd be fine. I love that sort of thing, so it was a real blast for me. I would pay to do that, but I was getting paid. I don't know where the daredevil thing in me comes from. Maybe it's a sense of boredom."

Growing up in Bossier City, La., Leto had no grandiose ideas of an acting career.

Instead, he was more interested in being a painter.

"I experimented a lot. Sometimes I was into abstract expressionism, other times I was into drawing and shading."

A move to L.A. in 1992 put his artistic dreams on hold, because within six months Leto landed his first TV job. He was cast as Jordan Catalano, the object of Claire Danes' desire in My So-Called Life.

"I got lucky really soon, so I'm still trying to learn what I'm doing. I'm learning in front of the camera."

Leto, who claims to be single and just "dating his dog," says he is particularly excited about director Terence Malick's new war drama The Thin Red Line, in which he co-stars with George Clooney, Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson and John Travolta.

"I have the privilege of being the first character killed in that picture," says the 6 ft., blue-eyed actor with a laugh.

Leto learns fast
By LISA WILTON -- Calgary Sun

BEVERLY HILLS -- Unlike his character in Switchback, Jared Leto's career isn't hanging by a thread.

In fact, the ruggedly handsome 25-year-old is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after young actors in Hollywood.

He has already starred as Olympic long-distance runner Steve Prefontaine in Prefontaine, as well as the lead in the upcoming gothic drama, Basil.

However, it's his role as Lane Dixon, the young drifter in the action thriller Switchback -- opening Oct. 31 in Calgary -- that may make Leto a household name.

"It was intimidating," admits Leto of his first few days sharing the set with veteran stars Dennis Quaid and Danny Glover.

"I had never made a really big movie before, but the actors were so nice,
charismatic and generous.

"Danny Glover, who I did most of my scenes with, is not only a great actor but a nice, gracious human being."

Dixon is a disillusioned doctor hitchhiking across the U.S., unaware he is being tracked by FBI agent Frank LaCrosse (Quaid), who thinks Dixon is a serial-killer.

In one of the film's most harrowing scenes, Leto had to hang from a cliff 28 meters above the ground strapped into a body harness and cable.

"That was pretty fun," he recalls with a smile. "It was pretty intense, but the stunt guys were so amazing. They were doing back flips all over the place, so I trusted them and decided to just enjoy it.

"It's all about safety with those guys. I thought if they were doing it, I'd be fine. I love that sort of thing, so it was a real blast for me. I would pay to do that, but I was getting paid. I don't know where the daredevil thing in me comes from. Maybe it's a sense of boredom."

Growing up in Bossier City, La., Leto had no grandiose ideas of an acting
career.

Instead, he was more interested in being a painter.

"I experimented a lot. Sometimes I was into abstract expressionism, other times I was into drawing and shading."

A move to L.A. in 1992 put his artistic dreams on hold, because within six months Leto landed his first TV job. He was cast as Jordan Catalano, the object of Claire Danes' desire in My So-Called Life.

"I got lucky really soon, so I'm still trying to learn what I'm doing. I'm learning in front of the camera."

Leto, who claims to be single and just "dating his dog," says he is particularly excited about director Terence Malick's new war drama The Thin Red Line, in which he co-stars with George Clooney, Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson and John Travolta.

"I have the privilege of being the first character killed in that picture," says the 6 ft., blue-eyed actor with a laugh.

E! Interview with Jared Leto

From alexandrea: You have the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen! Do you wear contacts to make them that blue?

JARED LETO: Thanks very much. No, I don't wear contacts, and contrary to what some people have said, I do not have a glass eye.

From mrsbradpitt: I know you've lived in a lot of places. Which was your favorite? What is your favorite article of clothing? What is your favorite band?

JARED LETO: Haiti. My latex jumpsuit. Marilyn Manson.

From cmarle: If you had another career to choose, what would it be and why?

JARED LETO: Most likely a painter. A visual artist, like a painter or sculptor, is responsible for himself and for his own vision. I like the personal experience of it.

From jeep4man: Do you have any idea of how large your following of gay fans is?

JARED LETO: I have no idea, but I guess the bigger the better.

From nataliet: How did you feel about My So Called Life being canceled?

JARED LETO: It was sad, but at the same time, liberating. It was a long process, and ABC was never really behind us, so it became a little frustrating. We never knew if we were going to be canceled, and they would keep us on hold for months in between shooting.

From sweetiemt: What was it like working with Claire Danes? And did you like working on the show?

JARED LETO: Working with Claire was great. She's always in the moment and incredibly responsive--and beautiful to look at. I learned a lot from her. And I did like working on the show. If it has been said somewhere that I did not, it's simply not true.

rom tyiakoum: I read in an interview you disliked your acting as Jordan Catalano. Is this true?

JARED LETO: Yes. I did say that, and I still dislike what I did on MSCL. But I've got to say I'm rarely happy with my work.

From asd: What was your most memorable moment while working on My So-Called Life?

JARED LETO: Kissing Claire Danes, of course.

From cassryan: Have you found yourself stereotyped as an angst-ridden "bad boy" ever since?

JARED LETO: No. People have completely different characters. Everything I've done since then has been nothing like Jordan.

From idreamofjeannie: What is your next project, and when is it coming out?

JARED LETO:It's called Prefontaine, and it'll be out January 24.

From stafmall: Have you ever considered working in the theater?

JARED LETO: Yes. I've considered theater, but I've got to confess that film is my first love. I do not hold theater in any higher regard than film. (Some people do for some reason.) To me, theater can be as bad and banal and commercial as film can be--or as great. There are just two different ways to tell a story, I suppose.

From melovepo5: What actor (living or dead) do you most respect and why?

JARED LETO: Daniel Day-Lewis, probably. He's done some great roles, made some amazing choices and managed to have an extremely private life. He's got dignity.

From elizaboo: If you had the chance to work with any one actress, who would it be?

JARED LETO: It would have to be Claire Danes, because I already know she's incredible, and she brings out the best in me.

From rstephens: Have you been able to quit smoking, as you indicated you wanted to do?

JARED LETO: Yes. I haven't smoked in years.

From diamondtiara: Out of all the roles you've gone for, has there been a role you wanted really bad but failed to get?

JARED LETO: Not yet, but I'm sure it'll happen soon enough.

From pokie: Can you tell me a little about your new movie?

JARED LETO: In short, Prefontaine is the story of a great American long-distance runner, who was probably one of the most exciting and controversial athletes of his time.

From josee: What country would you love to visit?

JARED LETO: I would love to go to Bali. I've heard it's beautiful.

From porkandbean: Are you anxiously awaiting the release of your movie, so people won't have the impression you are like the character you played on MSCL?

JARED LETO: Well, Prefontaine will be out soon, but I think most people know "Jordan" was a character I played and not how I act in everyday life.

From leoluver: What are your plans for the future? Do you plan to continue acting your whole life?

JARED LETO: I don't plan on acting much longer. I'll probably act less and less as I get older--if I live long enough.

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