Jared Leto #HugoRed interview by GQ Magazine.co.uk
By Jessica Punter 05 March 13
Jared Leto: front man of post-grunge band 30 Seconds To Mars, investor in burgeoning tech companies, campaigner on the Barack Obama trail and avid art collector. This is a man who has been busy during his three-year hiatus from the acting career that made him famous.
It began with a breakout role in My So-Called Life, the Nineties show that also propelled Claire Danes up the Hollywood ladder, and continued with memorable roles in Fight Club, American Psycho and Darren Aronofsky’s bleak tale of drug addiction, Requiem For A Dream. His look has been as eclectic as his CV: from corn rows and a bleached mullet to ponytails or an impulsive mohawk. Attacked and applauded for his personal style, he is not afraid to experiment, even if that includes a full-body wax and drag make-up for his upcoming role as Rayon in The Dallas Buyers Club. It’s the story of Ron Woodroof, the Texan HIV sufferer turned drug smuggler of illegal AIDS medication at the start of the epidemic.
Leto is in Berlin to talk about his new project for Hugo Boss, which he approaches with typical gusto…
On Looking 31 at 41:
“I still have plenty of vices, but alcohol isn’t one of them. It’s probably just down to sleep and diet. If you travel long haul a lot or don’t sleep much, it’s not going to last very long, that’s for sure. I’m pretty healthy so I think that helps a lot. I’ve been that way for a long time – 20 solid years of eating vegetarian/vegan and taking care of myself. That probably helps the preservation process.”
On Pulling Off Any Hairstyle:
“You have to be willing to make mistakes. I don’t have to show up at an office every day; I’m fortunate in that sense. I don’t have to conform to someone else’s dress code. Usually it’s dictated by the film that I’m making, or being on tour, or doing something silly. So I don’t take it too seriously. A couple of years ago I went to [photographer] Terry Richardson’s house and I needed a haircut. So I asked him if he wanted to cut it. He gave me a mohawk. So it was pretty spontaneous. At the moment, I haven’t had a haircut in almost a year.”
On How To Get Out of a Style Rut:
“Shave your head. Get a neck tattoo. I think it’s all about just being you – even if that means having a wild and wacky haircut every so often. Just be yourself and express who you really are: don’t worry about conforming, making other people happy or fitting in. That’s usually when people don’t feel their best.”
On Being Front Row at Fashion Shows:
“Fashion shows are fun because all the energy and excitement gets packed into 15 minutes, all that hard work. I remember I’d gone to see Karl Lagerfeld at the Chanel couture show in Paris, and it’s pretty mind-blowing to see that – especially from my viewpoint as someone who doesn’t know much about fashion. But you can just see the craftsmanship, the care and the creative thinking that goes into it. As a performer I put on shows every night, so it’s interesting to see how other creative people use music, light and sound.”
On Music to Work Out to:
“I’m a pretty adventurous hiker, so I like to crawl through the brush. I like to be outdoors and do that sort of thing. I never use an iPod. I like to hear the sounds of nature. I use it to get away from music. I make music so often I don’t actually listen to it very much. But I am currently listening to Sigur Ros and Fever Ray.”
On Piling On the Pounds:
“To get into character [as John Lennon’s killer, Mark Chapman, in Chapter 27] I just ate giant pizzas and everything you know you’re not supposed to eat, that’s what you eat to gain weight like that. If you’re a young actor reading this, you should never do that – it’s really stupid. It’s a mental and physical challenge. Putting on the weight was very difficult and very weird; I started every meal completely stuffed.”
On Hugo Red:
“It’s fun to be involved with Hugo Boss. It’s been a brand-new experience and a blast for me. Hugo Red is a new chapter. It’s exciting to see things come together: from the product design to the olfactory elements. I think it’s really fun to be a part of it and watch it come to life.”
On Returning to the Big Screen:
“It would have to be for something really special, something I couldn’t say no to. A part or story or a director that I just felt was an opportunity of a lifetime, like a Jonathan Glazer or a David Fincher. The films that I’ve liked recently are A Prophet, Gomorrah and Animal Kingdom, but none of them had parts that I thought I would have been great for or that would have been a challenge for me. They were foreign films and suited for the people that made them. I don’t pine for someone else’s role, or song or art. But it can still be inspiring.”
Hugo Red by Hugo Boss, £27 for 40ml. hugoboss.com
Jessica Punter is Style & Grooming Editor at British GQ.