Jared Leto premieres 30 Seconds to Mars “Hurricane” video in Hollywood

by Bill Palmer

After seeing his band’s controversial thirteen minute long music video for new single “Hurricane” banned from the television networks, Jared Leto was determined to give the short film an audience in its full unedited form, even if it meant renting out a Hollywood theatre and airing it for invited fans. Leto and 30 Seconds to Mars did just that on Monday night, as the Hurricane video saw its premiere at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre and was followed by what became nearly two hours of Q&A with the audience.

“A lot of people have questions about this weird little movie we made,” Leto explained after being introduced as Bartholomew Cubbins, the Seuss-inspired pseudonym under which he directed the short. Sensually themed, interwoven with scenes bondage and violence, Hurricane follows the three band members as they each struggle through attackers and challenges of various kinds. There’s arguably no more sexuality or violence in the Hurricane video than in the typical R-rated movie, but that hasn’t kept networks including the BBC from rejecting even the self-edited version of the video.

As if to drive his point home, Jared Leto (who was briefly joined by 30 Seconds to Mars bandmates Shannon Leto and Tomo Milicevic during the Q&A) pulled a printed list of network objections to the video which he’d been sent, which spanned several pages. “People are much more comfortable with violence than they are sex,” Leto explained to an audience member who inquired as to why the final edited version excluded much of the sex but left the more violent scenes intact. Even so, one network objected to a portion of a fight scene in which one participant kicked the other in the leg in too graphic of a manner.
In answering an exhaustingly long series of audience questions, Leto revealed that he had originally written the song back in late 2007 while in Berlin. By acting as the video’s director, he found himself directing his bandmates – one of whom happens to be his older brother – and quipped that he’s been “working with these guys for some time, and it’s nice that their acting careers are thriving and mine’s in the fucking gutter,” in winking reference to his own film and television acting career, which he’s been balancing with his musical ambitions for the past fifteen years.

After multiple instances of calling “last question” and then proceeding to take several more questions in order to ensure that everyone had their chance (one attendee said she’d driven all the way up from Tijuana, Mexico just for the event) and teasing attendees by revealing that Hurricane remix collaborator Kanye West “almost came by” unannounced for the event but ultimately couldn’t make it, Leto grabbed a guitar at the end of the evening and performed a solo acoustic version of Hurricane.

Even after hours of earnestly explaining every rationale behind the Hurricane video (mixed in with quite a few moments of deadpan humor) and appearing to easily win over the audience, Jared Leto may not be any closer to getting his video on air, edited or otherwise, than when the night began. But the few hundred who packed the intimate theatre certainly seemed to get it, and if nothing else, the core army of 30 Seconds to Mars fans will likely feel empowered to give the television networks a piece of their minds.