How i make it work... JARED LETO
THE OSCAR WINNER, WHO THRIVES ON HOLLYWOOD’S FRINGES, FRONTS A BAND AND ROCKS A LILAC TUX ON THE RED CARPET, REVEALS HOW HE’S MANAGED TO DANCE TO HIS OWN TUNE IN TINSELTOWN
Ihave always tried to have a life out of the spotlight; that’s where real life begins. Fame in and of itself is not a foundation to build a life on. Luckily, I always got that and kind of chilled back.
I’m a real outdoors person and some of my most powerful childhood memories involve sitting around a campfire with the smell of burning wood and maple syrup. The one great thing about California is that you’re surrounded by nature. Yeah, you may be in a fancy LA neighbourhood, but you can go hiking close by and brush past wild fennel and lavender, which still amazes me. The proximity to the desert, mountains or the ocean is one of the great pros of living here – I’d even say of being alive.
I think the way I have got to know myself is by testing my limits, whether it’s rock climbing or acting. People have focused on the “bravery” of taking on The Joker in Suicide Squad, a role that was so intertwined and associated with another actor’s [the late Heath Ledger] last great performance, but I don’t see it that way. Heath’s Joker was so brilliant and stamped into pop culture that our only approach was to go to a totally different place, starting with the look, which we worked on a lot. This gave us permission to explore and experiment. We debated everything and took chances: it was exhilarating. It’s such a gift to play the wildcard that is equally terrifying and mesmerising.
Disappearing into a character can be more intuitive for some actors than appearing in a campaign without that mask, but I was really excited to work with Gucci [as the face of Gucci Guilty EDT] because creative director Alessandro Michele has brought an edgy new energy that is incredible. Shooting in a Venetian villa with one of fashion’s great new voices was pretty cool – I was proud to be asked. I admire artists who are driven by
a total vision, such as David Bowie; these people are rarities.
I’m also used to being onstage in the other realm of music [as lead singer of Thirty Seconds To Mars], which is more about personal expression and doing your own thing than working on a film set. The more varied your passions, the more freed up you are from the status quo of each world.