On Thursday, the capital’s “Ukraine” Movie Theater premiered Jean-Marc Vallee’s film Dallas Buyers Club, with Jared Leto, winner of a best supporting actor Oscar as HIV-positive transgender drug addict Rayon, addressing the audience (he was one of few pop/movie stars from the West who did not cancel their tours of Ukraine).
He said he was very proud to be there that night, that it was a great journey for him; that the previous night his rock band 30 Seconds to Mars gave a concert at Kyiv’s Sports Palace (where he was waving a Ukrainian national flag, with the audience chanting “Glory to Ukraine!”). Now he was happy to present the film. He added that his trip to Ukraine was very special also because he and his rock band had arrived at a time when many performers had canceled their visits. He said they were in Kyiv to celebrate a feast of art and creativity. He reminded that he had acted as the Ukrainian, Yuri Orlov, in Andrew Niccol and Nicolas Cage’s crime war film Lord of War (2005). He said he loved Ukraine and wholeheartedly supported its struggle, so its dreams could come true.
When asked whether he was scared to visit Ukraine with all channels showing Molotov cocktails exploding and riot police squads attacking protesters, Jared Leto replied he was not, although he realized why some of his colleagues could feel that way. For him, it was a new and exciting experience, an opportunity to see with his own eyes a unique period in the history of such a great country as Ukraine. Many had canceled their concert tours, but Leto’s 30 Second to Mars had not.
I asked him where he kept his Oscar. He said in the kitchen at the moment, explaining that it was like stepping in, putting down his keys and there was that Oscar figurine. He said he had once allowed his colleagues to be photographed with the Oscar, then, walking down the stairs, he stumbled and scratched it slightly. That had happened on the very first day. Perhaps, he mused, he should have taken it along on his trip to Ukraine, so people could be photographed with him and his Oscar. Well, maybe some other time.
To this the audience cheered and chanted “Thank you!”