Reporting Scott T. Sterling
Jared Leto and Thirty Seconds to Mars deal heavily in pathos, galvanizing their massive army of devotees–better known as “The Echelon”–with big, emotive slabs of decidedly modern rock that reaches for the heart as much as the head.
The band’s flair for the dramatic is on full display with City of Angels, a new short film that expands the group’s current single of the same name off their recent album, Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams, into a compelling examination on life in Los Angeles, as told by a series of celebrities, celebrity impersonators and homeless people who reside in L.A.
The Leto-directed 11-plus-minute film opens with Kanye West riffing on his impressions of Los Angeles (“glamor, muscle cars, Crips and Bloods, low riders, Snoop Dog, Dre, Kim [Kardashian], Tupac, James Dean…Marilyn Monroe and Superman”), followed by a cavalcade of introductory shots of the film’s many stars, including all three members of Thirty Seconds to Mars amidst the likes of Selena Gomez, Olivia Wilde, James Franco, Lindsay Lohan, Corey Feldman and Shaun White.
“I wouldn’t have anything if it wasn’t for this city,” Leto himself says to the camera, followed by Kanye relating how “this city took my mother, but this city also gave me my child,” referencing North West, his daughter with fiancée Kim Kardashian.
“City Of Angels is a short film about this wild, weird, and wonderful land, Los Angeles, California,” Leto said about the clip in a press statement. “A place that has left its mark on the world’s imagination and a place where dreams can actually come true. I made this short film so I could share my thoughts on this incredibly special place + talk to others about theirs. It’s not so much about this particular city but more about the people who inhabit it. This is for the dreamers who know that sometimes the impossible is indeed possible.”
The film also has a dark side, with a homeless man talking about going to L.A. to find his mother, who he discovered was also homeless, and a Marilyn Monroe impersonator getting emotional while discussing her life in Hollywood.
Among the more affecting characters in the film is a Michael Jackson impersonator who talks about coming to America on a boat as a Haitian refugee, who admits, “I’m nothing but a copycat…and it kills me.”
Thirty Seconds to Mars first premiered the short film to those lucky fans who were able to attend the band’s recent appearance at the Hollywood Bowl, the group’s first show at the legendary L.A. venue.
While Leto and the gang are currently touring through Europe, Thirty Seconds to Mars return Stateside in December to play a string of holiday radio shows as well as a special headlining gig at the small Cincinnati club Bogart’s on December 14.