There are perhaps few more versatile stars in Hollywood today than Jared Leto. Alongside his acting, the Oscar-winner is also known for his music with the group 30 Seconds to Mars. However, while the world has been dealing with the coronavirus pandemic for weeks on end, Leto was, to put it lightly, a latecomer. As a result, the A-lister branded his eye-opening experience “mind blowing.”
Now, thanks to the huge number of news channels and mobile apps at our disposal today, we can stay on top of all the latest global stories. In fact, we have little excuse, really, to not be in the know. With that in mind, one particular story has dominated the media landscape recently. Of course, we’re referring to the coronavirus crisis, which was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
Given the severity of the outbreak, it’s become the main talking point around the world, with many countries going into lockdown. Some of those measures have been replicated by states in America, too. Yes, places such as California, Ohio and New York have all shut down in an attempt to curb the virus’ spread. By March 26, around half of America’s population had been told to stay at home, according to the BBC.
These unprecedented decisions have come as tens of thousands of people have died from the virus around the world. To add to that, on March 27 the United States had overtaken China as having the highest number of confirmed cases on the planet. Yet despite everything that’s been happening, Leto didn’t know about the outbreak until March 16, 2020.
Unsurprisingly, you’ll probably be wondering how anyone could have avoided the headlines, especially a star like Leto. Indeed, many other stars had been posting videos and writing heartfelt tweets for weeks since the start of the outbreak. But before we dive into his explanation, let’s look back on his life and career so far. You see, it’s certainly been filled with some memorable moments down the years.
So Leto was welcomed into the world back in December 1971, just before his mom and dad split up. As a result of that, he and his older sibling Shannon spent their childhood years with the former, who plied her trade as an artist. Funnily enough, his mom had adopted the hippie lifestyle, which had a big impact on her youngest son.
Reflecting on that unique time, Leto spoke with the Focus Features website, as he went into a bit more detail. You see, the actor suggested that his interest in the arts stemmed from that time in his life, due to the people that surrounded him. And his thoughts on the matter didn’t conclude there.
Indeed, Leto told the site, “I was raised around a lot of artists, musicians, photographers, painters and people that were in theater. Just having the art communal hippie experience as a child, there wasn’t a clear line that was drawn. We celebrated creative experience and creative expression. We didn’t try and curtail it and stunt any of that kind of growth.”
Following his time with the hippie community, Leto wanted to learn more about the artistic process, so he went to college. Yes, he took up painting at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But after a while, the future superstar’s interests shifted to something else, leading him to make an important decision.
For you see, Leto started to entertain the possibility of becoming an actor, which led him to leave the University of the Arts. At that stage, he earned a spot at New York’s School of Visual Arts, studying the filmmaking craft. Such was his passion, the student even played a major role in creating a short movie, writing the screenplay and starring in it, too.
In the end, Leto packed his bags for California off the back of his college stint in 1992. And it was a move that appeared to pay off straight away, as he landed a part in a TV show called Camp Wilder. The aspiring actor featured in two episodes, ahead of some other opportunities on the small screen.
After Camp Wilder, Leto was cast in shows such as Almost Home and Rebel Highway over the next couple of years. To add to that, he earned a role in a TV movie called Cool and the Crazy. However, it was to be 1994 that marked a pivotal moment in the star’s acting career.
You see, that year Leto was able to showcase his talents in the TV series My So-Called Life, his biggest role to date. Working with actress Claire Danes, he appeared in 19 episodes of the show and began to develop a loyal fanbase. Then, in 1995, the future Oscar-winner turned in his first big screen performance.
Yes, How to Make an American Quilt marked Leto’s film debut, ahead of a glut of roles over the next five years. From Fight Club to Requiem for a Dream, he was making a name for himself as one of the hottest young talents in Hollywood. But away from the acting, the rising star was involved in something else too.
Back in 1998, Leto and his brother started up their own band called 30 Seconds to Mars. And the Hollywood superstar took on the position of lead singer, while Shannon established himself as the drummer. Once they welcomed some additional members to the group, they got to work on their first record.
Around four years on from the band’s formation, they released a self-titled record in 2002. Since then, 30 Seconds to Mars have dropped another four albums, with their latest effort hitting the shelves in 2018. Along the way, they’ve also picked up close to 180 award nominations during their time together.
Meanwhile, Leto’s Hollywood career reached new heights in 2014. Of course, that year he won his first Academy Award for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club. The singer picked up a Golden Globe as well, marking an incredible period of success for him in the film industry. Furthermore, he took on a prominent role as the Joker in Suicide Squad just years later, bolstering his profile again.
Outside of the acting and singing, though, Leto does have some different interests. For instance, he supported the launch of a meditation app known as “Headspace” back in September 2015. In fact, he joined the likes of Ryan Seacrest and Jessica Alba by investing in the company, much to the delight of its executives.
What’s more, Leto planned to put aside some time himself to practice meditation in March 2020. To pull it off effectively, he packed his bags for a retreat and blocked everything out. Yes, his mobile was one of the items made off limits. Now, the process was to last for just under two weeks, but the actor wasn’t prepared for what awaited upon his return.
You see, just before Leto headed off for his retreat, the coronavirus was slowly starting to spread in the United States. To give you an idea of the numbers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that 15 American citizens were carrying the bug as February ended. Of course, that figure has since spiraled, which we highlighted earlier.
Astonished by what he’d come home to, Leto took to Twitter on March 17 to talk about the pandemic from his perspective. According to him, the news came as a real shock after his time away on the retreat. But the star’s reaction didn’t end there, as we’ll soon find out.
Yes, Leto’s response, which was spread across three different tweets, read, “Wow. 12 days ago I began a silent meditation in the desert. We were totally isolated. No phone, no communication etc. We had no idea what was happening outside the facility. [I] walked out yesterday into a very different world.”
“One that’s been changed forever,” Leto added. “Mind blowing – to say the least. I’m getting messages from friends and family all around the globe and catching up on what’s going on. [I] hope you and yours are okay. Sending positive energy to all. Stay inside. Stay safe.” Unsurprisingly, those tweets generated a lot of attention.
Indeed, the initial tweet has earned over 118,000 likes and more than 16,000 shares on the social media website. Furthermore, Leto’s message garnered in excess of 3,000 comments from internet users – some joking at his expense. Due to that response, websites like Time and CNN picked up on the story too, covering the actor’s admission.
However, Leto’s lack of knowledge about the coronavirus wasn’t an isolated incident. In fact, there were several people in a similar position to him throughout March. These individuals were taking part in the reality television show Big Brother, which usually cuts contestants off from any outside news during their stay in a large house.
In the German version of the program, the housemates were completely unaware of the situation outside their temporary home. Given what was happening, this soon hit the headlines everywhere, with people calling on the show’s bosses to come clean. In the end, the 14 participants received a live update.
Elsewhere, housemates starring in the Canadian version of Big Brother were in the same position too. Yet they started to realize that something was up prior to hearing the news. You see, under normal circumstances, a live crowd gathers by the house to welcome the latest person who’s been voted off the show.
As a result of the pandemic, though, the crowd was no longer there from March 12. So when the time came to eliminate a housemate, the contestants picked up on the lack of sound. Much like their German counterparts, they were eventually informed of what was transpiring outside the house.
If that wasn’t enough, Australia’s Big Brother went through a similar process, as the housemates learned of the pandemic. But their time in the house was brought to a dramatic halt when a member of the production crew thought they’d come into contact with the coronavirus. An update was then shared on March 23.
Speaking to 7News, a representative from the production company had a positive message. They said, “The test result for our Big Brother crew member believed to be exposed to COVID-19 has come back negative. We will resume filming Big Brother tomorrow and will continue to work within all Federal and State guidelines.”
Meanwhile, Leto wasn’t the only celebrity to respond to the global outbreak in the last few weeks. Indeed, stars such as Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson and Idris Elba have shared their respective diagnoses with the world, proving that we’re all vulnerable at this time. Yet on March 23 Hanks offered a welcome update to his fans.
Yes, Hanks touched upon his and wife Wilson’s condition via a post on Twitter that day. He wrote, “Hey folks. Two weeks after our first symptoms and we feel better. Sheltering in place works like this. You don’t give it to anyone. You don’t get it from anyone. Common sense, no? We can figure this out.”
Furthermore, James Bond star Olga Kurylenko was another famous face to reveal that she was suffering from the coronavirus. And much like Hanks, she shared some positive news on her social media page on March 22. According to the actress, she was now getting better at home following a difficult few days.
As Kurylenko went on to explain on Instagram, “Happy Mother’s Day! P.S. I have completely recovered [from the coronavirus]. To recap: For one week I felt pretty bad and was mostly in bed, sleeping, with high fever and a strong headache. The second week, the fever was gone but some light cough appeared and I felt very tired.”
“By the end of the second week I felt totally fine,” Kurylenko added. “[The] cough is almost gone. Although I still cough in the mornings, but then it completely goes away for the day! I’m fine! And now I’m just enjoying this time to reflect on many things and spend my time with my son.”
As for Leto, he’s continued to post on social media since returning from his retreat. The actor offered his followers a glimpse of what he’d be doing over the course of the lockdown, sharing some photos from his home. To begin with, he snapped a few images of his musical instruments in the house.
Then the A-lister revealed the contents of his fridge, before encouraging his fans to watch a movie with him. The film in question was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and the star made sure to post live updates from the viewing. The tweets didn’t stop there, though, as we’re about to discover.
You see, while Leto was clearly trying to keep people’s spirits up, he didn’t forget about the severity of the situation. So he posted a tweet on March 23 with an important bit of advice to his followers. Indeed, to really hammer the point home, the message was delivered in a powerful photograph.
In the image, a group of medical workers are holding up white cards that each contain a different word. But when put together, they read, “We stay here [in hospital] for you, please stay home for us!” Since being posted, that particular tweet has earned over 900 shares and close to 4,000 likes.
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Leto was set to enjoy a big year in Hollywood. Some two years after his last movie appearance, the Oscar-winner’s next film was originally slated to come out in the summer of 2020. But due to the current circumstances, the release date for Morbius may well change. You see, some things are just bigger than the world of entertainment.