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Jared Leto Juggles Music and Acting Careers

It is quite an accomplishment to find success as either an actor of a musician. It becomes even more noteworthy if you can combine the two. Jared Leto has managed to do just that. His band, 30 Seconds To Mars, has released their second album, "A Beautiful Lie", and earned a MTV Music Video Award for the song "The Kill". VOA's Larry London sat down with 30 Seconds To Mars when they visited Washington, D.C.

30 Seconds to Mars has toured all over the world, from the U.S. to Asia. Jared Leto, songwriter and lead singer, says the band has been inspired by its foreign travels. "When you take your life out of its comfortable context and insert it into a place and a time that's alien to you, you can't help but learn things about yourself; about other people,” says Leto. “We certainly learn things about each other as a band. Personally, creatively. Those are the things that are most amazing to fill your life with."

A trip to Africa had a special impact on Leto and the band. "Was It A Dream?" was one of the songs written there.

"Four of the songs on the record were actually written in Africa,” says Leto. “The interesting thing about Africa is you really notice the beauty of nature, which is everywhere. Also a lot of the failure of man."

Leto and the band are currently on an international tour, which includes dates in Japan in August. Their current single is "The Kill." Leto first gained attention as an actor in the TV show, "My So-Called Life." He has since acted in several films, including "Girl Interrupted" and "Fight Club".

Leto explains his dual careers. "Since I was a little kid my brother (Shannon) and I would play music. It was just a natural progression. For me, I went out to California, and happened to get some work in films and that was incredible. I am very proud of the things that I've done. We've also always been interested in music."

Although Leto says he has no plans to make films featuring music, he obviously has an advantage over most musicians when it comes to making a music video.

"One goal I have is to make a video for every song on this record. The Who, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, bands that really put a visual element to their music. They seem to kind of elevate one another. It would certainly be an exciting thing to do in the future."

Though their current tour is the focus of the band now, Leto sees future opportunities for acting. "At some point, these guys are all going to want a break. Instead of taking a break, I'll just work and make another film, which I'm very proud of as well. I'm not a closet musician or a closet actor [someone who doesn't pursue either vocation on a full-time basis]."