Jared Leto documents band’s creative and legal troubles in Artifact . MSN Entertainment

By Sean Plummer

Jared Leto film fans hoping that the erstwhile movie star will get back in front of the camera sometime soon are likely to be disappointed. In Toronto to talk up his documentary Artifact, the 40-year-old actor/musician/filmmaker/entrepreneur, who rose to prominence playing Jordan Catalano on the cult TV showMy So-Called Life before becoming a film star with roles in Fight Club and Requiem for a Dream, seems to have pretty much abandoned acting.

“There’s a lot I love about the process,” Leto says. “There’s a lot I don’t like about it; how isolating it can be. I never did plays so maybe theatre actors feel different. But I was always interested in filmmaking. I went to film school, studied to be a director, and my mood was, ‘Oh, I’m going to get a job acting so I can get a job directing.’ So that was really my first love, but there’s something very special about making films and acting. It’s a wonderful thing. It’s just incredibly time-consuming, and I don’t have a lot of time to do it these days.”

Indeed he does not. These days, Leto is splitting his time between writing and recording with his platinum-selling band 30 Seconds to Mars; building start-up companies from the ground up; and finishing work on and publicizing Artifact, a documentary on the creative and legal challenges that surrounded the making of his band’s most recent album, This Is War (2009).

Directed by Leto under the name Bartholomew Cubbins, a Dr. Seuss-derived pseudonym he’s used previously when directing 30STM videos, Artifact began life in 2008 as one camera (with no sound) documenting the recording of what would become This Is War, 30 Seconds to Mars’s follow-up to their hit 2005 album A Beautiful Lie. But that “very DIY production” became slightly more complex after the band’s record label EMI sued them for US$30-million during contract renegotiations.

“We kept the camera rolling knowing that there were some really important things probably that were happening in our world – important to us,” says Leto. “And then it grew a little bit and then one day there were two cameras, not just one, and we starting thinking about it a little bit more.”

Artifact captures the band’s struggles to record This Is War in the face of EMI’s massive lawsuit. That has since been resolved, although Leto admits that stopping the fight once it had been started was not easy. (Leto has promised new 30STM music in 2015.)

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Credit: MSN Entertainment