While most were struck by the sheer emotion of the clip — Leto is an avowed Cobain fanatic — others took it as the 30 Seconds to Mars' frontman's de facto audition for the eternally in-the-works biopic about the Nirvana leader — even though Leto wrote on his site that he made the film "to explore the character and explore creative possibilities." On Thursday night (April 28), during MTV News' "30 Seconds to Mars: State of the Union" live stream, Leto took it upon himself to further elaborate on why he decided to film the clip in the first place.
"Basically, about a year and a half ago, I ran into Courtney Love. It was at the Chateau Marmont, and I was talking to her, and she mentioned this book, 'Heavier Than Heaven,' and I said, 'Oh, I'm going to read this book,' because I'm a huge Nirvana and Kurt fan, and the book sounded fascinating, so I read it and I loved it," he said. "And I knew they were making a movie, so I put myself on tape, just to explore the character. It was really just something for me. I never sent it to anyone, I never sent it to the studio or the producers of the film. I just made it for myself, and I never did anything with it. But when the anniversary passed, I said, 'You know, I should just put it out and share it with people,' so that's what I did. I put it on my website."
And though he didn't read any of the negative comments about the clip, Leto understands why some may have viewed it that way. Though, as he pointed out, it came from his heart, and there were no other pretenses involved.
"Some people thought it was a tribute to Kurt Cobain, and maybe in some ways it is. I mean, it's a testament to him, but it was really just an exploratory process," he said. "You know, I make films, I've been an actor all my life, too, and you don't necessarily have to act when you're getting paid to show up on a set and do it. That was just an exploration for me."
Still, he said he hasn't watched the Cobain clip since he posted it — not because of any backlash it may have caused, but because he's already moved on to his next project.
"I can, at times, [watch myself on film] because I want to fix and change and improve, and that's probably why I really like the editing room and the editorial process, where, after I direct a video, I spend a lot of time editing — probably three times or four as the average director will spend editing, and I enjoy that," he explained. "But when it was something like that, you know, I made it, I'm done [and] I gave it away."
What did you think of Leto's Kurt Cobain clip? Let us know in the comments.