What it means when Jared Leto tells you to suck dick
“In the Beginning, this was the Life on Mars… ” - Echelon Chronicles
(a pre- 2005? era interview)
Jared Leto, lead singer and songwriter for 30 Seconds to Mars, threw a Hollywood hissy fit when asked a question about a TV show he appeared on about 10 years ago. He subsequently walked out on the interview with the Courier.
Actor (oops singer) goes ballistic
By Shawn Conner
You don’t spit into the wind. You don’t tug on Superman’s cape. And you certainly don’t ask Jared Leto about My So-Called Life.
Some critics have gleefully dubbed the actor’s rock group 30 Seconds to Mars “Leto’s so-called band.” Perhaps that’s why any mention of the TV show that gave the striking young actor his start sets him off and results in his brother, band drummer Shannon Leto, trying to confiscate my tape.
But let’s backtrack a bit. Leto, who has appeared in such recent films as Panic Room and Requiem for a Dream, was in town a few weeks back with his band to open up for California hard rock chart-topper Incubus at the Coliseum when we met at a popular Commercial Drive eating spot. It’s been a fairly fast ascent for the group, which six months ago was unknown but has since toured with popular metal mooks Puddle of Mudd. (The band is back in town Oct. 4 for the MTV Campus Invasion with I Mother Earth and Pepper Sands at the UBC Student Rec Centre.)
There is little, however, on the self-titled debut CD validating this newfound popularity. Tedious and uninspired, the music is played with just enough ham-fisted skill to indicate the band could hold its own as an opening act in front of audiences either too drunk or too young to know better. As one local scribe put it, the disc lacks a memorable melody or even discernible groove. It is, however, produced by Bob Ezrin, famous for his work with Kiss and Alice Cooper, and who makes 30 Seconds to Mars sound like a credible imitation of a real band.
And yet I am prepared to give the quartet the benefit of the doubt. I’m willing to believe for a moment the record company didn’t know a guy with teen heartthrob looks (Leto was chosen by People as one of the magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful awhile back) was in the band, that Leto and his brother (the founding members) are sincere in their desire to play music out of love and not money, drugs and chicks, and that Ezrin perhaps saw something in the amelodic sludge besides a chance to add another wing to his home in Majorca, or wherever he winters.
I am prepared to do all this, dear reader, mostly because Jared Leto is a semi-famous actor. Also, because I didn’t listen to the CD all the way through until just before the interview, and it was too late to cancel.
In fact, the interview was going well until I reached my last couple of questions, which inevitably had to do with his other career. The first, about how his acting experience carries over into his stage performance, is answered thoughtfully if dully (“I dunno, I don’t think it does, they’re two separate things”) by the 31-year-old. Then I make my fatal mistake.
“I was trying to remember this earlier,” I say. “What was the name of that band your character Jordan Catalano played in My So-Called Life? Wasn’t it the Frozen Embryos or something?”
The actor’s piercing blue eyes burrow holes into my skull. “It was called Suck My F***ing D***.”
The other band members stare down at their unfinished food. Beside me, the record label rep shakes her head. (I’ve been warned, after all, to keep questions about acting to a minimum, if I must ask them at all.) Catalano, I mean Leto, declares the interview over. Then he accuses me of taking the piss out of him in a rant lasting several minutes. He leaves, and the rest of the band follows their meal ticket out the door.
I’m eyeing the bassist’s unfinished nachos when the brothers Leto return. Shannon says he wants to add something. Like a dummy I produce my tape recorder, which he grabs. He extracts the tape, I protest, he decides to give the tape back after recording over the last part of the interview.
In recording over the first soliloquy, however, the younger Leto tapes a second, the gist of which is:
“I’ve made movies I’m really, really proud of. Why do you want to ask me about the first thing I did? Why not ask me about working with [directors] Darren Aronofsky or David Fincher? [For the record, a recent Entertainment Weekly refers to Leto’s performance in the Fincher-directed Panic Room as “utterly absurd”.] That’s like me taking something you wrote 10 years ago and judging you by that.”
I protest it’s nothing close, especially since I liked My So-called Life and meant no offense. But he’s on a roll.
“Why do you want to ask me about the first thing I did? Because you want to put a negative slant on things. The editor of Spin magazine said he listened to our album for three weeks before they knew I was in the band, and then they f***ed me over in front of the entire world. I don’t need the press. Our album sales are doing great without it.
“This is a defining moment. I’m not doing any more press. I hope that feels good to know. Because of this interview I’m going to stop. I’m actually very upset and saddened by it. I’m passionate about what I do. You know what he does?” he asks, nodding in the direction of his hooded sibling Shannon, whose head is bowed in concentration. “He works construction for $10 an hour in L.A. You’re going to shit on his life. That’s disgusting. I fortunately have another job I can fall back on but these guys have nothing else.”
So-o-o-o—curiosity got the best of me a few years later (at least), what was Shawn doing lately?
”Shawn Conner is the publisher/founder/editor/complaint department of guttersnipe, and also a contributor. He has been writing reviews and features on just about everything since the dawn of man, and once had his interview recording device taken from him by the actor Jared Leto, which might explain his obsession.”
Me: (Are you serious? Get over yourself, already.)
He’s since changed his website [again] in the post-TIW era, and I’ve forgiven [sort of] but I won’t be forgettin’ any time soon.
Brunchpocalypse is upon us
The brunch to end all brunches has arrived. For those of us not able to partake of the festivities, we salute you. Mimosa the fuck out of brunch. It won’t know what hit it.
I shall be eating a boring normal breakfast & heading to Connecticut for a family party. However, my mind will be with you brunchers on this epic day.
Brunch hard, my friends. Cheers.