If you know me, you know that I’m a wee bit obsessed with visual media — film and television in particular. Maybe it’s because I struggle with visualizing in my mind. I can do it, like when I’m reading a book. But I find myself immensely relieved when I can enjoy a movie based on that book, because I am shown far more than I ever “saw” before. Also, I just love how all of the pieces come together. The words of the story combine with just the right view from the camera plus music and motion, and it all blends together into something that’s somehow hyper-real. Or maybe I just wish my life came with its own soundtrack.
Anyway, I’ve been digging into Apple TV’s slew of original programming lately, and my most recent binge was WeCrashed. I was familiar with WeWork already, if just peripherally, and the story of the rise and fall of Adam Neumann was certainly a story I found interesting. But what surprised me the most was actor Jared Leto. In fact, I’m a little unsure if “actor” is really a suitable term for him, since I like many people first encountered him as the lead singer of the band Thirty Seconds to Mars.
I’m aware that Leto has been in front of cameras a time or two, and had even managed to snag an Academy Award for a supporting role in Dallas Buyers Club. I’m also aware, of course, that Leto did a stint in the DC Universe as the Joker in Suicide Squad, which I think didn’t get great reviews? I put less stock in reviews these days as opposed to the heyday of Roger Ebert, who would at least have a conversation about a movie rather than just bash it for…social cred, or whatever? Besides, I’m currently a bit more of a Marvel girl anyway.
The point is, Jared Leto wasn’t what drew me to WeCrashed, but his performance is definitely what lingered for me. Never mind that he flawlessly picked up Adam Neumann’s accent, mannerisms, everything — what really floored me was how charismatic he was in this role. If Neumann himself had even half the charisma that Leto brought to the role, I can easily see how the actual events surrounding WeWork could have transpired. I was honestly in awe.
This led me to kind of re-discover Thirty Seconds to Mars, which I hadn’t really followed for a while (The Kill came out 16 YEARS AGO, after all). A quick stop on YouTube brought me to a recent video that was meant to capture some of the spirit of the band’s live shows. But of course, after having just watched Leto as a co-working preacher man of sorts, I honestly got the vibe of (fictional) Adam Neumann on some new WeWork tour. (I know, I have trouble separating fiction and reality sometimes. Anyway.)
Thanks to the comment section, I noticed that Leto himself had his own YouTube channel, so of course I popped over.
This is where my jaw kind of dropped.
You know how when you’re first introduced to a creator, you sort of box them into whatever form that introduction first takes? Like, I really had seen Leto as the young front man for some glam band from however-long-ago all this time, movie roles notwithstanding. But now? I’m noticing that this guy has actually directed a number of very interesting projects, including a series of interviews with a variety of big names in humanities and social change (Beyond the Horizon), and a set of short films focusing on national parks and explorers (Great Wide Open).
Such a difference from my old perspective of this person and their creative vibe. I mean, sure, I was into the Shining vibe from that video for The Kill (which apparently Leto also directed!). But so many creatives end up being a sort of “one-trick pony”, so much so that I think people come to expect that. And for some, that’s pretty accurate. But for others, getting that first moment in the spotlight can truly serve as a launching pad for a variety of creative endeavors. And seeing others achieve that inspires me to try my hand at a variety of things myself. Of course, I’m still working on letting myself be…not good…at those things. (I can’t even type the word “bad” in this context. Yikes.) But still. It’s so interesting exploring Leto’s creative trajectory. I’m looking forward to poking around some more.
Still not sure if I’m going to check out Morbius, though….