The multi-talented Jared Leto has unfortunately been absent from the big screen for a few years now. You can probably attribute most of that to his flourishing music career as after showing up in 2007’s Chapter 27, the actor vanished from Hollywood, only to re-appear in the recently released Mr. Nobody and the upcoming Dallas Buyers Club.
During the Toronto International Film Festival back in September, I had the chance to sit down with Jared for a roundtable interview to discuss Dallas Buyers Club, in which he co-stars alongside Matthew McConaughey.
So far, the actor’s return to the big screen seems like a success as he’s already receiving early Oscar buzz for his role as a transvestite named Rayon, who is dying from AIDS and looks to McConaughey’s character for help, ultimately becoming his business partner.
Having been away from film for so long, Leto was excited to be talking to journalists again as he spoke about the challenges that the role presented, why he decided to get back into acting, how he lost so much weight for the role and much more.
Check it out below and enjoy!
We heard you were in character for the entire film.
Jared Leto: I was, how could you not be? How could you leave that beautiful creature? But ya, it was part of the process.
Do you always do that?
Jared Leto: I’ve done it many times, but not on all my films. For instance, when I worked with David Fincher on Panic Room, I certainly wasn’t in character the entire time for that. It was a very long shoot and I didn’t think it was necessary. In this film, there were so many characteristics and attributes that were so far away from where I live my daily life. There was the voice, the mannerisms etc. Every time the camera cut I couldn’t just drop all that and then just pick it back up when we started shooting again. It didn’t work like that. So I just chose to be in character for the whole time.
So how do you say goodbye to the character then once you’re done?
Jared Leto: It’s kind of bittersweet. You’re saying goodbye to an enormous amount of work but you’re also back to yourself.
What type of diet did you have in order to get down to 114 pounds for the role?
Jared Leto: I actually got down further than that, but I stopped counting. It really didn’t matter at that point. I’ve lost weight before, I’ve gained weight before, it’s not a big deal. The weight thing is interesting though, it changes the way you walk, talk, laugh, everything. Even the way you breathe. It’s a commitment that you can’t run away from, so it brings with it an incredible amount of focus.
What was it about the character that had you so committed to the role?
Jared Leto: Her sense of humor is great and she’s just so compassionate. She’s kind of a hot mess actually [laughs].
You were great at walking in heels but is there anything that you weren’t comfortable doing in the role?
Jared Leto: What I found interesting was how people treated me different, especially since I was in character all the time. The most masculine guys were the ones who treated me the most gently. Even after a couple of days I became a different person in their eyes. They took good care of me. It was very sweet.
The producer actually suggested you to the studio for the part, right?
Jared Leto: Yes.
Any idea why?
Jared Leto: Because she’s a genius [laughs]. No, I have no idea. She actually told me that last night, I never knew that. Someone has to suggest you though, and I don’t think Jean-Marc [Vallée] was aware of me.