Jared Leto may not being starring in any films at Sundance this year, but don’t count 2011 out.
Four filmographers taped around 3,500 hours of Leto and his band Thirty Seconds to Mars as the rock outfit completed its latest album “This Is War” in 2008 and 2009. A final product, to be culled from those videos, will be released as a documentary film, “Artifact.”
Leto hopes that the film is a literal artifact of a specific time, of the band, of his personal life, and “really what was happening with the entire world.”
“Documentaries are really interesting. They’re not only written as you shoot them, but written as you edit them. I really enjoy the documentary process,” Leto told HitFix during Sundance’s snowy Saturday in Park City. “You can’t really document this period of time without getting into the global financial crisis, the fact that a new president came in, history was made, it was a very challenging and intense time around the world and that was impacting our lives.”
Included in “Artifact” is an interview with neurophysicist Daniel Levitan, author of “This Is Your Brain on Music,” “other artists, musicians, people talking about everything from love, art, war, the state of the music industry, and the world.”
In its own life cycle, it took Thirty Seconds to Mars four years between “A Beautiful Lie” and “This Is War,” as the group went through a very public lawsuit with its label Virgin. That legal battle has since been settled – though Leto isn’t singing the traditional music industry’s high praises these days.
“There’s one more nail to put in the coffin. They went to the store to buy some more, they’ll back shortly,” Leto says. He and his band members – Tomo Milicevic and brother Shannon – don’t know what their label or release situation will be next after “This Is War” cycles through, as they put their “all” into “This Is War.” “This is it, this is it,” Leto repeated.
Meanwhile, 30STM is taking the Flood- and Steve Lillywhite-produced “This Is War” on the road, for its first arena tour in Europe in February and March and in the U.S. in April and May. They are planning more videos with “weird” director Bartholomew Cubbins – a pseudonym Leto uses for himself (“the most poorly kept secret ever”) for a handful of clips, including the current No. 1 Alternative Radio single “Kings + Queens.”
Leto doesn’t plan to walk away from acting, either, though he didn’t mention any forthcoming roles on slate. He starred in indie flick “Mr. Nobody,” which went to Venice and Stockholm Film Festivals last year.
“There’s something that I love about acting, I’m very grateful for it,” he says. “It’s given me an education. It’s nice to be able to do both.”