A Love Letter to Jared Leto

By:Katherine Naylor

In honor of Valentine’s Day I have decided to write about Jared Leto, my favorite actor. Today I will focus on his genius performance in Dallas Buyer’s Club and his directorial success under the name Bartholomew Cubbins. 

Back in 2013, Jared Leto won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Dallas Buyer’s Club and it is clear to see why. In the film he plays Rayon, a transgender, gay man who is dying of AIDs. His performance is absolutely incredible. He uses a soft, gentle voice of a woman while perfecting her womanly mannerisms. During his final scene where he is dying, he convincingly cries about his impedning death, pulling audience members in. By the time he dies, audience members feel as if they have lost a friend as well.

He completely immersed himself into the character in order to have such a brilliant performance. For the role, Leto shed 40lbs, and practiced his role as Rayon in public. He describes going out in public in an interview: “‘the day comes when you take her out for a walk: shaved, waxed, wigged-up, the whole bit. To get a little judgment, some meanness, a little condemnation was a useful thing for the part. I went to Whole Foods Market to, I guess, just stare at the food, because I certainly wasn’t eating a whole lot of it. And I got three distinct looks from people. One was, ‘What is that?’ The second one was, ‘Who is that?’ and the other was, ‘I dunno what the fuck that is but I don’t like it.'” He chose to bring his character out into the real world in order to fully understand her.

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Rayon’s sweet personality allows the audience to want to love her, to be friend’s with her. But underneath is a brewing sadness due to the rejection from her parents, her battle with AIDS and her drug addictions to meth and cocaine. Her character is complex and compelling, drawing audience members in to the true reality of AIDS.

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In addition to his spectacular acting skills, Leto is a director under the name Bartholomew Cubbins. He has directed most of the Thirty Seconds of Mars music videos. Leto started  the rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars back in 1998 with his brother. Since, the band has had international success, with a powerful fan base. Their music videos, however, are even more moving then the music itself.


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My favorite music video directed by Bartholomew Cubbins himself is the “City of Angels” by Thirty Seconds to Mars that I promise will leave you with chills if you have ever lived in Los Angeles, or aspire to live there. The video features celebrities Alan Cumming, Ashley Olsen, Corey Feldman, James Franco, Juliette Lewis, Kanye West, Lily Collins, Lindsay Lohan, Olivia Wilde, Selena Gomez, Shaun White, and Steve Nash. It also features street performers from Los Angeles. The music video embodies all of the power, fear, hope, love and passion within the City of Angels.

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The music video intertwines segments of interviews with images of Los Angeles, and of the band members singing over the city, with a beautiful sunset in the background. It is edited perfectly to show juxtaposing images and opinions of the city in order to reflect the confusion of the city. I highly suggest that if you are interested in the entertainment industry to watch this music video. I personally love watching it before any internship interview in order to pump myself up for the interview.

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10 Responses to A Love Letter to Jared Leto

  1. mediaphiles says:

    Jared Leto was amazing in Dallas Buyer’s Club! What a surprise that we have both him and Matthew McConaughey for this week’s blog. They were both phenomenal in that movie. However, that is the only movie I’ve seen with him in other than Suicide Squad which I don’t want to remember. I should definitely check out his music videos. Thank you for your recommendation.

    -Kevin Yu

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I remember the first film I saw Jared Leto in which was Requiem For A Dream and at the time I was actually a fan of Thirty Seconds to Mars so seeing him in a movie like that really blew me away. His acting talent is pretty remarkable and he’s not one to shy away from altering his body for a role, like Dallas Buyer’s Club and Chapter 27. I also appreciate his roles in Fight Club and American Psycho. And seeing him really flex his creative muscles with his music videos is exciting to watch.

    – Cal Parsons

  3. mediaphiles says:

    I am a big fan of Jared Leto as well. I think his performance in Requiem for a Dream is fantastic. I’m glad you highlighted his performance in Dallas Buyers Club though because it is unbelievable. The emotional power he brought to that role was amazing. I haven’t seen any of his music videos, but I will definitely check them out because they sound great as well.

    -Walker Rise

  4. mediaphiles says:

    I watched the music video “City of Angels” after reading your post and I am so glad that I did. The celebrity interviews were so powerful and especially impactful with their voiceovers during shots of the city. When Kanye says “The city took my mother but gave me my child”, I was speechless. The editing is simply exquisite and I got chills watching the city light up. I loved the music video and loved and thought the celebrity appearances made it even better.

  5. I too love Jared Leto (and have actually met him!) It is so interesting that you point out what some actors go through to really perfect their role. Losing 40 pounds for a job is serious commitment, and I think that alone deserves applause–not to mention shedding light on important issues. I’ve never really looked much into his acting style, but sounds pretty method to me.

    -Kelly FitzGerald

  6. mediaphiles says:

    I find Jared Leto truly inspiring. He is an amazing talent and his commitment to his roles really motivates me. His method acting style is very unique and it makes me really appreciate the amount of time and effort he devotes to his craft. I also really enjoy his music because there is always a message behind every song that people can relate to. City of Angels is a perfect example of this. This is an awesome post!

    -Shelby Halliman

  7. mediaphiles says:

    Katherine! Hi! I have to say, I discovered Jared Leto in middle school, first as a singer. I loved (and love) “30 Seconds to Mars” in middle school and was amazed by their vocal talent, and then when I grew up, I viewed Jared Leto in movies and was so impressed by his ability within a myriad of fields. I also do not know why I haven’t, but I will be watching the “City of Angels” music video right now!

    -Luke Dellorso

  8. mediaphiles says:

    Ive actually never seen much of Jared Leto’s work and the fact that i haven’t seen Dallas Buyers Club is a travesty, however what I have seen from him has been super impressive. You definitely picked a good and deserving person to pay tribute to.

    -Max Lissette

  9. marymdalton says:

    It all started with My So-Called Life…you MUST see it!!!

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