Happy Birthday, wherever you are, to you who, after years of hard work, are finally having the success that really deserve and I'm absolutely happy for you and proud to read, over and over again, about a brave and determined person in your projects as you are.
In this recent weeks, with conflicting opinions, we are truly interested and curious to see Jared Leto in his next role of Joker.
I read many articles on this topic combined with many fans-art which already show him in the role of this sadistic, bizarre and insane criminal, among few skeptics and those who, instead, are sure that an Oscar like Mr. Leto will give us new dreams and emotions.
But today I don't want to talk about Joker.
In this very special day I wish, with humble writing, pay homage to him remembering some of the many masterpieces that he played, being an actor who can transform himself, as much physically as vocally, and I want to start from the film that brought him in my life...
PREFONTAINE (1997), directed by Steve James, tells the life of the American runner Steve Prefontaine and his death at age 24 from the point of view of Bill Dellinger, the assistant coach who was with him day-to-day, and Nancy Alleman, the girlfriend of Steve at the time of his death.
Steve Prefontaine, is a student, too small to play most sports but he is an aggressive runner and becomes a talent. With his coaches Bowerman and Dellinger, "Pre" wins four consecutive 5,000-meter runs, breaking the U.S. record in the latter.
The movie is really touching when Prefontaine accompanies other american runners including Frank Shorter and Jeff Galloway to the 1972 Munich Olympics, where they witness the terrorist attacks of the Munich Massacre which interrupt and almost cancel the games.
"Pre" will die in an accident with his car on May 1975.
For this role Leto immersed himself in the life of the runner, not only meeting the family and friends, but also adopting the athlete's voice and the upright running style to have a complete transformation.
REQUIEM FOR A DREAM
Another amazing movie is REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (2000), a drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky and based on the novel of the same name by Hubert Selby, Jr.
In addiction to the story, this film is fantastic for the choice of the director to use, during the editing, extremely short shots. Split-screen is used extensively, along with extremely tight close ups. Another special feature was the use of some cameras fastened to the body of the actors and the time-lapse.
Moreover, is really great also the soundtrack. Indeed it has been used in various forms for other films.
The movie is divided into three parts attributable to three seasons, summer, autumn and winter, respectively corresponding to the rise, decline and fall of the protagonists. In fact there isn't the spring because it's the symbol of the rebirth.
Next to a magnificent Ellen Burstyn who plays Sara Goldfarb, a housewife widow whose activities are to watch her favorite talk show and to talk with her neighbors, Jared plays Harry, her son, a drug addict who, with his friend and his girlfriend, is looking constantly for ways to get drug, through which he will earn a lot 'of money to realize some of his dreams. But he will be forced to use most of these money to post bail to his friend who is imprisoned after fleeing the scene of a drug-gang assassination.
Meanwhile heroin is removed from circulation for a while ' and it much more difficult to find it. But Harry wants it and decides, with his friend, to go to Florida to procure a big load. A bad infection contracted on an arm of Harry forces them to stop in a hospital where a doctor notices the symptoms of drug abuse and they are arrested for drug possession. But Harry will be transferred from prison to an hospital for the amputation of his arm.
CHAPTER 27 is a 2007 biographical film directed by Jarrett Schaefer, depicting Mark David Chapman, an anonymous, 25-year old, socially awkward and mentally unstable fan of The Beatles, who will kill John Lennon, outside his New York apartment, in the unforgettable night of December 8, 1980.
The film was called "Chapter 27" referring to non existent chapter 27 of the book from wich Chapman was obsessed, "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger, book that he was reading during that night and that, in fact, has 26 chapters.
For his role, Leto gained 67 pounds drinking ice cream mixed with soy sauce and olive oil every night. It was an experience more hard than lose weight for his role in "Requiem for a Dream", and his body, subsequently, has had some problems as he said : "I don't know if I'll ever be back to the place I was physically. I'd never do it again; it definitely gave me some problems."
MR. NOBODY (2009) is a science fiction drama film and it was written and directed by Jaco Van Dormael.
In this film Jared is Nemo Nobody, a 118 year-old man who is the last mortal on earth after the humanity has conquered the immortality through the endless renewal of cells.
The memories of Nemo are faded, therefore, he is subjected to sessions of hypnosis and interviews which try to reconstruct his long life. But he is an enigma, often thinking that he is only 34 years old with lost memories.
He tries to tell his life at three primary points: at age nine when his parents divorce, at age fifteen when he fell in love, and at age thirty-four as an adult. But all his stories are inconsistent and no one is sure what truly happened and what didn't.
Leto, in a interview, described this role saying : "Mr. Nobody is everyone and no one all at the same time, an illusion, the product of his own dreams. He's love, he's hope, he's fear, he's life and he's death. This is without doubt the most complex character I've ever played. It was a challenge to keep all these lives concentrated into one character for the duration of the filming without losing myself..."
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
In DALLAS BUYERS CLUB (2013) directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, Jared is Rayon, a drug addicted, HIV-positive trans woman, who will help and will become a good friend of Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), an electrician and rodeo cowboy to who is diagnosed AIDS and given 30 days to live and who decides to smuggle unapproved pharmaceutical drugs into Texas for treating his symptoms and distribute them to people with AIDS.
In order to accurately portray his role, Leto refused to break character during filming, he lost 30/40 pounds, shaved his eyebrows and waxed his entire body. He met transgender people, working also on Rayon's voice, and talked with people with HIV and AIDS.
With this amazing movie Jared won about 35 awards among which The Golden Globe and the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
Other films with Jared Leto :
How to Make an American Quilt - 1995, The Last of the High Kings - 1996, Switchback -1997, Basil -1998, Urban Legend -1998, The Thin Red Line -1998, Black & White - 1999, Fight Club -1999, Girl, Interrupted -1999, American Psycho -2000, Sunset Strip -2000, Sol Goode - 2001, Highway -2002, Panic Room -2002, Phone Booth - 2002, Alexander - 2004, Lord of War - 2005, Lonely Hearts -2006.
I admire this man for the huge passion he has for the art in all its characteristics.
In fact, besides being a great actor, Jared Leto is also the lead vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and main songwriter for Thirty Seconds to Mars, a band he formed in 1998 in Los Angeles, with his older brother Shannon Leto and which, at the moment, released 4 albums: 30 Seconds to Mars (2002), A Beautiful Lie (2005), This Is War (2009) and Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams (2013).
He has directed music videos, including "The Kill" that was a homage to the Stanley Kubrick's 1980 film "The Shining", and for its cinematography Jared adopted the split screen visual from working with Darren Aronofsky in "Requiem for a Dream".
He has directed and produced the documentary "Artifact" that I already reviewed for moviepilot.
Jared loves also the photography and, after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, he released a book of photographs taken during his trip to the Caribbean country in 2011, that he also introduced in New York on September 2014 with the event "Haiti: The Journey Is the Destination" in a bid to raise funds for the earthquake-ravaged country. ( https://beta.vyrt.com/)
So, what can I add?
Thank you Jared, for the dreams and for being you...see you again in tour next march/april with 30STM and to the cinema with Suicide Squad on August 2016!