Requiem for a Dream
American actor/musician Jared Leto garnered the best reviews of his career after portraying heroin addict Harry Goldfarb in the 2000 drama Requiem for a Dream, directed by Darren Aronofsky. Formerly known among television audiences for playing brooding heartthrob Jordan Catalano in the cult hit teenage drama My So-Called Life (1994-1995), the Louisiana-born actor was well-received for his roles in such movies as 1998’s successful horror film Urban Legend (with Alicia Witt), Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line (1998), David Fincher's remarkable films Fight Club (1999, starring Brad Pitt) and Panic Room (2002, starring Jodie Foster), Girl, Interrupted (1999, opposite Winona Ryder) and the thriller American Psycho (2000, alongside Christian Bale). Fans can catch Leto as Nicholas Cage’s younger brother in the action thriller Lord of War (2005) and as Raymond Fernandez, opposite superstar John Travolta, Salma Hayek and James Gandolfini, in the forthcoming Lonely Hearts (2006).
As a musician, Jared Leto is the lead vocal/guitarist/songwriter of a rock band called 30 Seconds to Mars. With his group, he recently released a second album titled A Beautiful Lie (2005).
Off Screen, one of People Magazine's “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” (1996 and 1997), Leto has been linked to such high profile names as Kristi Mc Daniel, Cameron Diaz and Scarlett Johansson (dated in 2004). He began dating Diaz in 1999 and the couple became engaged in 2000. In 2003, however, they ended their four-year romance with resulting speculations that their separation may have been due to his jealousy of Diaz's hot career and his attention to his band. Leto is now rumored to have a new relationship with teen star Ashley Olsen. The two were discovered together in New York, where Olsen is a student at New York University. A source said that 19-year-old Olsen is "like a giddy schoolgirl who has a new man."
Childhood and Family:
In Bossier City, Louisiana, Jared Leto was born on December 26, 1972. His parents divorced when he was a child, leaving him in the care of his mother, Constance. This separation led to a traveling life with young Jared moving from his native Louisiana to different cities in Colorado, Virginia, Wyoming and Haiti. In 1992, when he was 20, Jared relocated to Los Angeles to launch a career in acting.
Jared was educated at Newton North High School and Flint Hill Preparatory in Oakton, Virginia. Hoping to become a successful painter, the multifaceted Jared found his way to Philadelphia's University of the Arts, but then discovered acting and transferred to the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where he majored in filmmaking. While studying there, he penned and starred in his own film titled Crying Joy.
When he is free from film works, Jared spends time with his band, 30 Minutes to Mars, where he serves as a guitarist, songwriter and singer, and enjoys hiking, skateboarding, snowboarding, reading and painting.
My So Called Life
Switching his dream of becoming a painter to an actor, Jared Leto, who once worked as a dishwasher and a doorman, headed for Hollywood to pursue a career in acting when he was twenty. Starring and writing his own film while in school, Leto got his first role as a guest star in such shows as "Camp Wilder" (1992) and "Almost Home" (1993) before he delivered his big break as a regular in the teen cult hit My So Called Life (1994-1995). Portraying high school anti-hero and the object of Claire Danes' affection, Jordan Catalano, Leto became daydream fodder for teenage girls and rose to fame with the success of the series. In 1994, he also made his television movie debut in Cool and the Crazy (1994), starring with Alicia Silverstone.
Gaining a reputation as a teen idol, Leto landed his first film role when he was cast in the tiny role of Beck in the drama/romance How to Make an American Quilt (1995), starring Winona Ryder and Anne Bancroft. After his debut, the fledgling actor was seen regularly on film. Leto costarred with Christina Ricci in The Last of the High Kings (1996), worked with Danny Glover and Dennis Quaid in Switchback (1997) and won his first leading role by having the title character of the legendary runner in Prefontaine (1997).
After another title role in Basil (1998, opposite Christian Slater and Claire Forlani), Leto starred in the teen horror hit Urband Legend (1998, with Alicia Witt) and was part of a powerhouse cast which included Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, John Cusack and George Clooney in Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line (1998). In 1999, he appeared as a gay high school teacher in James Toback's Black and White (1999) and played supporting roles in two films, David Fincher's controversial Fight Club (1999, as the blond angel face) and Girl, Interrupted (1999, played Winona Ryder’s sweetheart).
In the new millennium, Leto’s career received a boost with his involvement in two high profile films. He first gave a memorable performance in the supporting role of Paul Allen in American Psycho (2000), a film based on Bret Easton Ellis’ novel of the same name. Leto earned even more recognition for playing the coveted starring role of heroin addict Harry Goldfarb in the up-and-coming director Darren Aronofsky's sophomore effort Requiem for a Dream (2000), in which he had the chance to work with legendary Ellen Burstyn and future Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly. His fine acting in the addiction drama won praise and raves from film critics.
Unfortunately, his next films, Sunset Strip (2000) and Tarantino-sequel road film Highway (2002) were failures and immediately landed on video store shelves. The pendulum swung once again and Leto was put back in the spotlight with his supporting role of the most talkative and awkward of three burglars, tormenting Jodie Foster's character, in David Fincher’s notable Panic Room (2002). Vanishing from the screen for two years to pursue a career in music, Leto made his return to film in 2004 when he landed the supporting role of Hephaistion in the 2004’s epic Alexander (2004).
"We really bonded very early. He has a great sense of humor and was very kind to me. I learned so much from watching such an incredible actor. He really is a master at what he does. It was a real honor to be able to work with someone like that, that I’ve been watching since I was a kid. I mean, to play his brother left some people scratching their heads but something about it really worked." Jared Leto on playing Nicolas Cage’s brother in Lord of War.
Recently, Leto portrayed Nicolas Cage’s younger brother Vitaly Orlov, an insightful soul who endures the consequences of being part of his brother’s illegal trade, in the 2005 action film Lord of War. He will soon play the role of Raymond Fernandez in the upcoming drama Lonely Hearts (2006), with John Travolta, James Gandolfini and Salma Hayek.
Jared Leto, whose enjoys music by Marylin Manson and Nirvana, also tried his hand in music. Leto and his bother Shannon are members of a contemporary alternative rock band named 30 Minutes to Mars, in which Leto is a vocalist, guitarist and songwriter. Along with his group, Leto toured throughout Los Angeles and released their first album in 2002. Recently, the band launched a 2nd album titled A Beautiful Lie (on August 2005).
"It's difficult because you have to sacrifice. Clint Eastwood actually wanted me to be in his movie and I had to say no to one of my heroes. I had to support the release of the record. But those are sacrifices that you make and just the name of the game." Jared Leto on balancing acting and music