GQ&A: Jared Leto

Like Frank Sinatra famously before him, Jared Leto has a cold. But the actor turned 30 Seconds To Mars frontman is soldiering on nevertheless in the basement of an Amsterdam interior design store. Last night over a Blumenthalian dinner (soup that looked like Heineken, a main course that looked like sweets, a dessert that looked like spaghetti Bolognese) in the WesterUnie nightclub he was unveiled to the assembled international men's grooming press as the face of new fragrance Hugo Just Different, along with a Jonas Ã…kerlund-directed TV advert. Here Leto talks to GQ.com about his David Fincher-directed Siegfried & Roy biopic, doing karaoke with Courtney Love and the strangest gift he's ever received from a fan...

What's the most important item on the 30 Seconds To Mars rider?
We have a very simple rider. It consists of: water, almond milk, fresh fruits and nuts and some ginger. Why ginger? It's good for your throat and voice. We slice it up. That's our big fancy rock'n'roll rider. [laughs]

What's your karaoke song?
I only did karaoke once in my life. It was with Courtney Love and it was a total disaster. She pulled me on stage in front of 500 people at a wedding. I'd never done karaoke before. I just looked at the list, I had no time to decide and the first song I saw was "Eye Of The Tiger". Everyone knows the melody a little bit [sings]: "Eye Of The Tiger, da-da-da-da-da-da…" but I didn't know any of the rest of the song. I'd never in my life read the words before. Terrible. I went down in flames. I never did it again. Fortunately it didn't scar me… I'm on stage most nights of the week so I don't really feel a need or desire to do karaoke so much.

Would you let one of your songs be used on Glee?
I don't know. Different strokes for different folks. I've never really thought about it before. But people asking to use your song is a compliment. It's nice if people ask to use your song. You have to make a decision as an artist how you feel about that. But there's certainly no requirement to let your song be used. Sometimes the songs are just used and you don't have much to say about it depending where it's used. But it's nicer when you're asked permission.

What's the strangest gift you've ever received from a fan?
We've gotten lots of really interesting gifts. I've been given all kinds of things: first-edition novels, ancient books. Someone gave me an old sword one time that was engraved with our lyrics. Lots of tattoos. A very common thing these days is people show up and they ask us in the band to sign with a Sharpie right on their skin and they go get it tattooed the next day. Then they'll show up at another show and they'll have their tattoo. That's always interesting...

Last night you (jokingly) mentioned the possibility of returning to acting in a David Fincher-directed biopic of Dominique Strauss-Kahn and on Twitter you've previously mentioned doing a film of Siegfried & Roy with the same director. Which is more likely to happen first?
[Laughs] I was stealing my own joke is what I was doing... I think Siegfried & Roy. By the way, I know I said it as a joke but I think it's a great idea. I need to send that to him, actually [reaches for BlackBerry]. Thanks for reminding me. Just as a joke. He'll laugh. He's in London right now shooting The Girl With The Pearl Necklace. No, Earring? Did you say that or did I? Rewind the tape...!

Fincher directed you in Fight Club, which is one of our all-time favourite films...
Really? Well, you know the first rule…

Fair enough. Have you been in a fight since then?
I may have. I may not have. I can't confirm or deny those allegations...

Do you ever think about mobilising your Twitter fans, Project Mayhem-style?
We could take over a small country somewhere maybe and just move in, yeah... It's nice to be able to communicate digitally with people around the world. Some of the social media networks have been a blessing because they've made that communication much easier and more immediate.

You're not often seen out in a suit - when was the last time you wore one?
When I shot the Hugo Just Different commercial! Before that? For a film I made called Mr Nobody that I shot in 2007. It's not a big part of my wardrobe but it's fun to wear. It's a rare occasion so I have fun with it.

What's your own grooming regime like?
I don't have one. Water is my cosmetic. I don't even use soap on my face. I just use water. I use shampoo a bit.

It must have been strange for you then appearing in the skincare-fixated American Psycho...
I was a big fan of the book years before the movie, and I remembered there is just an obsessive amount of grooming and skin products, the descriptions of all of the balms, salves, unguents... I travel too much to be carrying anything like that around anyway. The smaller your bathroom bag is, the better.

What's the biggest lesson you've learnt?
It's a cliché but that hard work pays off. Another is that in those moments of great challenge, your darkest days, usually the breakthrough or blessing is right around the corner.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
To think the opposite.

One of the top Google results for you is "Jared Leto Justin Bieber's dad". What's the best rumour you've heard about yourself?
Oh God, I've heard it all, pretty much. But the best one was probably that I was dead. That's always a good one.

Presumably you're denying it?
I am. The rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated...