Leto sees "The Shining" in new Mars video
Jared Leto has worked painstakingly to be taken serious as a musician and not just another actor fooling around in a bar band.
His rock group 30 Seconds To Mars has sold a respectable 133,000 copies of its second record, "A Beautiful Lie," via Virgin Records, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and is in the middle of a sold out U.S. club tour.
But no matter how hard he tries, the heartthrob who sent teenage girls' hearts aflutter in the television show "My So-Called Life" and in such films as "Requiem for a Dream," "Fight Club" and "Lord of War" can't seem to leave the cinema world behind.
Leto, who sings, plays guitar and writes the 30 Seconds to Mars songs, will soon release a video for his band's new single, "The Kill" based on Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of the horror masterpiece "The Shining"
"It's a light homage," Leto, 34, told Reuters on Monday during a phone interview en route to a performance in San Diego. "I wanted to show four guys facing their identity. The foundation of this nightmare of isolation, madness and fear was the starting point, but there are some more avenues explored."
Filmed in Toronto, the video, a rough cut of which was provided to Reuters, shows the band spending some winter time in a deserted hotel and is peppered with references to Kubrick's film.
The band is seen skateboarding through meandering hallways and performing at a 1920's period ballroom party. When a member fails to stay away from a forbidden room, he is seduced by a ghostly apparition.
Eventually, the four musicians confront their alter egos as the video explores the idea of duplicity in a perhaps unintended parallel to Leto's double career.
"I'm not as fascinated by these two singular elements, there are other things that I do as well, but there are a lot of interesting parallels you can make regarding self-discovery and identity," he said.
Other actors such as Bruce Willis, Juliette Lewis and Kevin Bacon have tried their hand at music, but never made a sustained commercial impact.
Leto, who sports black painted nails and eyeliner in the video, has forged a contemporary, radio-friendly sound for his band, with strident angst-ridden vocals and cinematic arrangements.
"It's nice to be seen as a legitimate example of how to do things the right way," he said. "If the music is horrible, people won't listen, but if it's good some people will listen and will look beyond the stereotype."
Members of the 30 Seconds to Mars fan club, The Echelon, will get to see the video on the Internet within a week or so, according to Virgin.
Leto, who said he still had 12 pounds left to lose after gaining 62 to play John Lennon's murderer in the upcoming film "Chapter 27," will show a portion of the video during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live on May 2. The full band will perform two songs on the show the next day.
The band will also play Chicago's Lollapalooza festival in August.