Jared Leto: Thriving in the Dark
Q: Did you get to rehearse with Nicole?
A: Just a bit. I thought she was fantastic.
Q: What was it like working with Jodie?
A: She's in one side of the house and we're in another so we were separated for most of the shoot. But she's very interesting to watch. You respect her. You can see her thinking, which is good for this kind of character in a thriller.
Q: You play a thief in the film. Have you ever stolen anything?
A: I once stole $12 million from a school for the blind. [Laughs] Not really. I stole a lot when I was a kid, but I wouldn't steal one candy; I'd take the whole carton. I also used to like to break into other people's houses and sit in their rooms. I found it very comforting to be in someone's empty house.
Q: Would you pick a nice house or just any house?
A: Whatever house I could get into. It was so weird. But I've stopped doing that. [Laughs]
Q: What do you hope audiences get out of Panic Room?
A: I think that all the subliminal imagery that David put in the film will disturb people. It's very classic, Hitchcockian and suspenseful. It keeps you on the edge of your seat. It's the kind of movie I'd want to see.
Q: When you're at your most stressed out making dark movies like Panic Room, do you ever think, "I should just make some high paying Garry Marshall comedy and take it easy for a while"?
A: Sometimes I do question, "What is wrong with me?" Some people I respect a lot have a great time making films that are light and fun, and I think that's fantastic, if that's what makes them feel good. Maybe they're having more fun than I am. That's what I question. Right now I want to work on projects that take chances and aren't afraid to be unconventional. You have to do what moves you. I liked working with Darren Aronofsky on Requiem for a Dream. I would be happy going back and forth between Darren and David Fincher for the rest of my career. But I do sometimes wonder what it would be like to do something light. I probably will at some point.
Q: I read that you lost a lot of weight to play a junkie in Requiem for a Dream. How did you do it?
A: I didn't eat. I'd have broccoli, cucumber, but just a few bites of little things, never more. It was the hardest thing I've ever done to myself, willingly. It was really painful starting to eat again after that. I was filled with a lot of guilt. It can be an addiction to not eat when you make such a strong commitment to that. I heard this story about an English woman who was in a sailboat race for months around the world. At the end of the trip, she said it was so hard to step off the boat. She wanted to go back and do it again, and that's how I felt with Requiem. I was just bawling uncontrollably the last few days of shooting. I'd look at Darren and start crying. But there were moments of such reward.
Q: Could you have been less committed, say lost less weight, and still pulled it off?
A: I don't know. I did what I thought I had to do because I wanted to make myself proud and make everybody else proud, though I was miserable to be around. I was talking in this obnoxious accent all the time. Some people got a little scared. I apologized to Jennifer Connelly and I apologize again right now because she's so sweet. We had scenes where Darren was giving us direction in private and well, I just hated her.
Q: Did you reward yourself when it was over?
A: It was difficult. I walked around New York City for a while. Ultimately, I went to Portugal and stayed in this old monastery for weeks and ate fish and potatoes.
Q: To research your role, you spent time with junkies in New York. What surprised you about that world?
A: You see that no one starts out as a junkie. They're lawyers, or married couples.
Q: Did it depress you?
A: No, because I don't really live in a bubble.