It might not seem like it, given the enthusiasm with which he transformed for a wide range of roles, from the bald and disrespectful Paolo to Gucci House to the budding supervillain of Morbius-but Jared Leto learns to relax as it ages. “I’m grateful that I got to spend my life doing this,” the 50-year-old but also ageless actor said on this week’s show. little golden men podcast. “And lately, the gratitude keeps growing. Some of the dissatisfaction or frustration with my abilities becomes a little calmer, and I just have more gratitude for being able to work and do what I’ve done.
His remarkably prolific six-month run ended in April with the final of We crashed, the Apple TV+ limited series about the WeWork co-founder’s dramatic rise and fall Adam Neumann, played by Leto. With the help of subtle prosthetics and remarkably effective brown contacts, Leto’s transformation into Neumann was less dramatic than some others he’s attempted in his career, but no less profound. “In Adam’s case, there were also his challenges, because I found him to be quite close to me,” Leto says. “And when you work closely, even if you just change your eyes, you see so many things that you’re used to me. Sometimes it’s harder to forgive or forget a small change. So it took work. We started with a lot more in the prep, and then we had to scale it all down and make tough decisions about what we were going to be able to achieve in the time we had for the duration of the shoot.
Leto knows he’s famous for the intense preparation he brings to his roles, and points out that it’s also his job “to be as kind as possible, to be as collaborative as possible, to be supportive and to be of service to the other actors, the writer and the director. But he also thinks it might be fun to show that he can do something completely different, if someone lets him. “It would be fun to do something romantic. at some point,” he said. Or maybe even a romantic comedy? “A romantic comedy would be hilarious. The funniest thing would be to promote it and talk about it. People would be so like, ‘So what’s going on here?’ As in front of McConaissance.
Listen to Jared Leto’s interview on this week’s show little golden men, which also includes a conversation with Dope star Kaitlyn Dever. You can also read a partial transcript of the interview below. To subscribe to little golden men on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
Vanity Lounge: How did you feel watching the show unfold? Do you now feel like it’s completely over for you?
Jared Leto: It doesn’t feel like it’s completely over because we’re still talking about it. I mean, I’m still working on what I think of the project and the experience, but this one was really special. It was really different because of the time it took to do it. And I absolutely loved every second of it.
Did you pay attention to how people reacted when the show aired? Not even reading the reviews, but the reactions on social media, what did people think of your performance? How much of that do you follow?
I try not to get involved in a lot of things, but you get an idea of how things go whether you like it or not. You kind of have an idea if something is hitting a nerve or if a performance is working. So that’s enough for me. I’m too sensitive to dive into reviews and that sort of thing. I think I have a pretty good idea if I’m achieving what I set out to do. I give myself a lot of opportunities to fail day after day and with a project. I mean, I’m interested in making really big swings. And when you do that, you’re going to miss. And sometimes you win and you make things work. And that’s wonderful, but I think it’s important to give yourself the freedom to fail.
I wanted to ask you about this failure, because you talked to my colleague, Julie Miller, a few months ago and talked about being Adam Neumann when you weren’t on camera to understand the character and how much of a failure that was. How do you know when something is failing when you’re trying to figure out who the character is in your spare time when the camera isn’t rolling?
I like to do a lot of research and I like to be really prepared, over-prepared. When you walk onto a film set and there are a few hundred people there, it’s your job to deliver no matter what. If it’s five in the morning and you’ve had very little sleep and you’re supposed to be walking on target and having an emotional breakdown and you haven’t even had a cup of coffee, that’s your job and you must deliver. So I like to do my practice in advance. And in that practice, when you’re sitting with dialogue, when you’re sitting with a character and experimenting when you’re researching and pulling things that you may have found in that rehearsal, in that practice is a great place to research things you think might work. And of course, when you get up in the day, everything can change. But I always try to arrive with ammunition so as not to end up empty-handed.
And so when you’ve done that work on your own, how do you communicate that when you get on set? Do you come to discuss the work you did upstream with the directors, with the screenwriters? Or is it really something you bring in-house?
All the foregoing. I mean, if there are things I’m looking forward to trying that require some preparation, of course you want people to know about it so you don’t make people’s lives more complicated. And I have to say that by being prepared and working as hard as I can, I believe it’s also my job to show up and be as nice as possible, be as collaborative as possible, be supportive and to be at the service of the other actors, the writer, the director, because you need a team. And on this one, in particular, I mean, the handles and the personal assistants and the people who worked, I was struck so often by how hard people worked and the contributions they made to us can all do our job. Not wanting to be too selfless or anything like that, but it was a beautiful thing to be a part of, really special.
And doing it during COVID too, the stakes are so high for everyone to do exactly the job they have to do.
Yeah. It was wild because we were in New York and it was also a ghost town at that time. But anyway, sometimes there are things you want to keep to yourself and try, whether it’s an improvisation or an ad-lib or something like that. And sometimes you want people to be in cahoots. So it really depends. But I want to be prepared. There’s no worse feeling…we’ve all dreamed of giving a speech or going on stage. In fact, I had one the other night when I was going on tour with 30 Seconds to Mars and I had to get up and do the first show. And I haven’t sung in a few years, and I was hoping my voice would be there. And those kinds of dreams can come true when you’re an actor. It’s good to be prepared. And especially in this case with Adam Neumann, because he was so wordy. He gave a lot of speeches, words were his superpower, as they may have said on this show. And in this project, dialogue is action in a sense.
My colleague, Gabe Sherman, reported at the end of WeWork in 2019 and the headline said something like “You don’t bring bad news to the cult leader.” And I was wondering if that term for Adam Neumann, cult leader, sounds right to you in terms of his power, with words and his charisma and how he is on stage? Does this suit Adam?
I mean, it’s a term that gets thrown around a lot, but I think he had a cult personality. He had enormous power within his company. And I think people were in awe of this immigrant who came to America and built a business from scratch into a $47 billion empire. And he was really charismatic in a start-up world where you have a lot of engineers turned CEOs. Charisma isn’t always… it’s introverted people, often people who’ve spent a lot of time alone coding and working. And not all CEOs have this charisma. And he certainly…
I mean, I’ve talked to CEOs of some of the biggest companies in the world who’ve met Adam or had meetings with him or knew him, and I’ve always said, after all that’s been said and fact, I always said he was one of the most compelling and charismatic, confident people they had ever met.