Profile: Jared Leto, star of Dallas Buyers Club
The Thirty Seconds to Mars frontman plays a dying transgender AIDS patient
1971, Louisiana, US
After giving up his painting studies in Philadelphia, Leto moved to New York to study acting, and then to Los Angeles to pursue a music career, with acting on the side. He is now equally successful as the co-founder and lead singer of the rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars and as a character actor in the films Fight Club, American Psycho and Requiem for a Dream.
What’s he up to now?
He has taken his first role in almost six years as dying transgender AIDS patient Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club, for which he is being Oscar-tipped.
On what attracted him to Rayon
‘Her heart, her humour, her grace, and the kindness and compassion that she has. I hope if I was ever faced with the challenges or the circumstances that she was, that I would act accordingly.’
On co-star Matthew McConaughey
‘I never met Matthew until the movie was over. It’s kind of a joke but it’s also true: I never met him, the director [Jean-Marc Vallée] or Jennifer [Garner] or anyone. I spoke to people only through the character and I think it was really beneficial to do that.’
On going method
‘There are no rules, there is no method: you do what works for you and what enables you to deliver the best performance possible. But what’s great about it for me is that I really had the opportunity to work when I wasn’t in front of the camera. And the way people start treating you is fantastic because you learn so much. There would be an AD who reaches for your hand when you’re walking down the stairs or a carpenter who asks you out on a date.’
On his audition
‘I had a meeting on Skype. We said “hello” and I reached out and put some lipstick on and his jaw dropped. And then I undid my coat and I had a little pink sweater underneath and I proceeded to flirt with him for the next 20 minutes. Then I woke up the next morning with the part.’
He grew up in a hippie community.
Dallas Buyers Club is on general release from Fri 7 Feb.