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The Untold Truth Of Jared Leto

When someone mentions the word "magnetism," the dictionary definition should probably feature a photo of Jared Leto alongside it. As an all-round creative, he has the fame, the awards, and the body of work that will be spoken about for generations afterwards. He simply has it all, including a captivated global fan base that would walk through fire for him. Plus he appears to have also discovered the forbidden Fountain of Youth as he defies the basic principles of aging, looking younger with each passing year on Earth. Either that or he's Morbius, the Living Vampire, in real life, too.

Whether Thirty Seconds to Mars became a crutch for us during our emo phase or his version of the Joker inspired someone to get a "damaged" tattoo on their forehead, Leto has played an important role in shaping pop culture for three decades now. In that time, he has inevitably made the headlines and become a hot topic of discussion as he boldly lives his life in an unapologetic manner, often shocking the entertainment industry along the way. From his awkward in-character meetings with co-stars to his disdain of the term "method acting," here is the untold truth of Jared Leto.

He doesn't call himself a Method actor

Everyone has heard the wild stories of the lengths that Jared Leto will go to for a role. Whether it's allegedly sending roadkill to his "Suicide Squad" co-stars or refusing to break character the entire time while on set, he's prepared to go to the extremes for his performance. Who knows, maybe Leto is even portraying the author writing this feature in preparation for his next role as the exiled leader of Film Twitter. Anything is possible.

In an interview with Variety, it was revealed that Leto doesn't like to refer to his approach as Method acting. Instead, he dubs it "immersive work." Basically, it's about putting himself in the other person's shoes and living their reality to encapsulate the full experience of being them. Our only hope is that Leto didn't try to behave like a real vampire on the set of "Morbius." Biting a co-worker or draining their blood is generally behavior that's frowned upon in any industry, no matter what the intention might be.

Jared Leto's choice between music and acting

Some people might be good at acting, while others are fairly decent at music. Then there's the rare breed of entertainers who are excellent at both and make everything look effortless. Jared Leto falls into this exclusive camp, as he's tasted the pinnacle of success in both film and music. But unlike parents who lie to their children about how they love each and every one of them in equal amounts, Leto actually has a favorite between the two arts.

"It'd be much easier to walk away from film than music," Leto told USA Today. "Music is very personal — my brother and I have shared this journey and this dream for almost our entire lives." It wasn't the only time that he said he'd pick music over acting, as he revealed to Live with Kelly and Ryan that if he was forced to choose, he'd pick music because he gets to do it with his brother, Shannon. Also, it's probably because he doesn't get his scenes cut during live performances or on studio recordings, so there's that.

He took six years off from acting

Jared Leto's journey to stardom isn't what one would consider a traditional path. He was thrust into the public spotlight thanks to his role as the teenage heartthrob Jordan Catalano in "My So-Called Life." From there, he went on to star in high-profile feature films like "American Psycho," "Fight Club," and "Requiem for a Dream" that signified his arrival as a legitimate and talented actor. Then, all of a sudden, Leto disappeared from Hollywood movie sets and pivoted onto concert stages with his band Thirty Seconds to Mars.

Music became his core focus for a six-year period as acting took a backseat — something that even surprised the film industry. Leto revealed to The Scotsman that he was incredibly fortunate to be welcomed back to Tinseltown, saying, "It's the end of your career, that's what it is. Most people who are on their sixth year, it's not by choice." Ironically, Leto wasn't looking to get back into the movie biz either; however, he received the script for "Dallas Buyers Club" and found it to be an interesting project. Good thing that he did since he ended up winning an Oscar for his performance as Rayon.

How Joker made him angry

Jared Leto's turn as the Joker in David Ayer's "Suicide Squad" remains the subject of heated debate among comic book movie fans. While there's no doubt that the Warner Bros. executive team got their sharp scissors involved in the theatrical cut of the movie and minimized his role, many people just didn't like the look of Leto's Mr. J, who seemed like the long-lost member of the Insane Clown Posse. That said, "Suicide Squad" made $746 million at the box office (via The Numbers) and there were plans for other Joker-centric DC films in the future.

Out of nowhere, Todd Phillips' "Joker" film was announced, with Joaquin Phoenix selected to portray the titular character. Fans scratched their heads around the continuity logistics of the movie, even if it was described as a standalone effort, but the mere thought of the production infuriated Leto, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Reportedly, he tried to get the plug pulled on "Joker," demanding that his agents and music manager intervene and put a stop to it. The Oscar-winning actor wasn't pleased by the fact that the studio made promises to him about his version of the character, then greenlit a film with another actor. To make matters worse, Phoenix won the gold for his performance and received critical and fan acclaim. For Leto, this experience was no laughing matter.

He might be a cult leader

There's no question that Jared Leto tries to exude a messiah-like presence and aura. Wherever he goes, whatever he says, people pay attention to him. It's also no coincidence that Thirty Seconds to Mars fans are some of the most devoted and loyal followers around, as they don't just support the band; they see their message as a way of life. In fact, the supporters are commonly referred to as The Echelon.

In 2019, Thirty Seconds to Mars invited their fans (for a fee, of course) to join them on "Mars Island" (in Croatia) for a three-day experience of music, yoga, and socializing, as per RawMusicTV. A white-robed Leto walked through the crowds and spoke to his followers, who hung on his every word and performance as if they were his faithful and willing disciples. Naturally, everyone presumed this was the beginning stages of a cult forming, which the band's Twitter page seemingly confirmed as well. Only the people who attended can concur whether it was or wasn't. That said, no weird or concerning stories have filtered out of the Mars Island event to date, so we'll reserve judgment here.

His other career (not that one)

Apart from his double salvo in music and film, Jared Leto also has another career under his belt: entrepreneurship, particularly in the tech field. According to Men's Health, Leto has invested in tech juggernauts like Uber, Spotify, and Airbnb — all of which have been highly successful and profitable ventures that have reaped dividends for their investors. When asked by TechCrunch about his favorite investment in 2014, Leto replied that it was Nest — a business that Google picked up for over $3 billion in that same year. Imagine the returns on that investment.

Evan Spiegel, Snapchat CEO and a friend of Leto's, described him as "uniquely talented and brilliant." He added that "few people realize what a successful tech investor he has been over the years." For the average person, it's almost confounding how Leto is able to maintain these three different careers at the same time, especially considering the enormous success he's tasted in all of them. Leto insists that the secret is that he's extremely protective of his time and selective of what he does and doesn't do.

Pandemic ... What pandemic?

In March 2020, the world experienced a history-changing event. The rapid spread of COVID-19 accelerated into a pandemic, as countries reacted quickly in shutting down their borders and enforcing lockdowns to slow down the rate of infection. It was a period of immeasurable anxiety and concern for everyone, as no one knew what the future held. Everyone was stressed out — everyone except for Jared Leto, who wasn't even aware that a pandemic was at large.

Leto explained to host Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show" that he'd gone on a meditation retreat before the height of the pandemic. He explained, "When I went away, there were about 150 cases and just in that short amount of time, when I came out, it was a shutdown, a state of emergency, and the whole world had changed." The point of the retreat was to get away from the noise of everyday life, which included Internet access and mobile phones, so all the participants were blissfully unaware of the chaos happening around the rest of the world. Naturally, when Leto arrived back home, he was shocked to see what had transpired in the time he'd been away. It was as if he'd awakened from a serene dream into a living nightmare.

Boring is the worst thing he can be

Jared Leto has made some interesting creative choices as both a musician and actor. In one breath, he'll deliver a mind-blowing performance that attracts awards buzz, then he'll go off and do something completely left-field that makes everyone wonder what he's doing with his life. But if it hasn't been made clear yet, Leto dances to the beat of his own drum — not being overly concerned with what others think about him or his decisions.

Speaking to Vanity Fair, Leto discussed how he pushes himself and likes to experiment, refusing to settle for expectations or sticking to his comfort zone. "I fought hard for these opportunities, and I really am intent on breaking some things, even if it's a glorious failure," he said. "I would rather have abject failure and know that I took great risks than mumble or whisper my way through a movie with an attitudinal coolness." To be fair, Leto has built up enough social cachet over the years to be able to fail every so often and not let it impact his overall reputation. If he was a newcomer, on the other hand, one wrong move could prove to be fatally disastrous for his career.

Jared Leto was fired from a movie theater

As mentioned before, Jared Leto is a serious businessman. He looks for opportunity and seems to be pretty successful at spotting the right ones, judging by his tech investment track record. As it turns out, this entrepreneurial spirit was already alive and well in his youth when he worked at a movie theater — well, at least for a while.

In an appearance on The Ellen Show to promote "House of Gucci," Leto discussed his affinity for movie theaters, as well as his special history with them. "I actually worked at a movie theater when I was a kid," he said, prior to adding, "I got fired for selling weed out the back door. I was just an entrepreneur." While it's likely that his bosses weren't too happy with Leto for creating his own empire within their business, it was yet another example of how he goes against the grain and blazes his own trail in this world. And yes, the use of the word "blaze" was completely intentional here.

An awkward first meeting with Al Pacino

While fans might know all about the efforts that Jared Leto takes to get into character, that doesn't mean his co-stars are always in the loop. For "House of Gucci," Leto underwent quite the transformation to play Paolo Gucci. Once he was in full makeup and costume, it was practically impossible to know who was under all the prosthetics. In fact, Leto's co-star, Al Pacino, who played Paolo's father Aldo, didn't even recognize him the first time they met.

Speaking to W Magazine, Leto said he arrived in character on the film's set and walked up to Pacino calling him "Papa." The veteran actor had no idea who he was and — probably presuming he was a rabid fan who had snuck past security to ask for an autograph — retorted with an expletive and jetted away from him. When Leto approached him again, someone actually had to tell Pacino that it was his co-star. The legendary actor immediately changed his tune, transforming into his character and referring to Leto as his son. Wouldn't it have been far easier for everyone if someone had introduced all the actors on the first day of shooting? Seriously, this isn't rocket science.

The power of no

Remember the movie "Yes Man," which starred Jim Carrey as a bank clerk who changed his life by saying yes to every opportunity that came his way? It must be Jared Leto's least-favorite film of all time (after 2019's "Joker," obviously) since it's not how he chooses to live his life. Instead, he believes it's far more valuable to say no to things. His reasoning, though, probably goes against the advice of every single life coach on the planet or the people who say, "Fake it until you make it."

"I never wanted to make the most movies, to make the most albums," Leto told Fast Company. "So I like to employ the power of no. We all want to say yes, because with yes comes so much opportunity, but with the power of no comes focus and engagement." Honestly, it makes a lot of sense. There are only so many hours in a day, so if someone says yes to everything, how will they give their all to what really matters to them? Also, if we say yes, where will we find the time to procrastinate and surf Twitter aimlessly for hours on end?

Jared Leto's worst-kept secret

Thirty Seconds to Mars has produced some of the best music videos around. Whether it was everyone imitating the "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" bicycle scene for "Kings and Queens" or the luscious cutting-edge cinematography of "From Yesterday," every production screamed next-level blockbuster quality. Looking at the director for these epic videos, one specific name always showed up in the credits: Bartholomew Cubbins. Yet every person knew that this was a pseudonym for the real person behind these videos: Jared Leto.

Leto confirmed the truth to The New York Times, along with the reason for the name, which he began using years earlier and actually belongs to a Dr. Seuss character he always liked. He explained, "I wanted not to have any of the distractions that may come along with putting my name on a video that I was starring in, that I wrote the song for, that I was in the band of." In addition, he was fully aware that people knew it was him, but the band decided to keep on doing it "for fun." So, if the name Marvin K. Mooney suddenly appears in the credits, does that mean it's Leto's brother, Shannon, who directed the video?