Oh, this has been a long past year since the U.S. officially detected its first COVID-19 case. Last March, a bizarre twist came from Jared Leto, who revealed on social media that he was probably one of the last people to know that the virus had been declared a pandemic. He had recounted how he emerged from a “silent meditation” retreat to find that the world had essentially shut down. While speaking with Jimmy Kimmel (to promote The Little Things, a crime drama that will stream on HBO Max), the Oscar winner and rocker reflected more upon his stark reentry to Los Angeles.
As Leto told it, the retreat was literally designed to be a silent affair, which lasted about two weeks. No TVs or phones were in use, but apparently, the teachers were aware of what was happening and didn’t wish to disturb the attendees’ experiences. The My So-Called Life actor didn’t even know what was happening until he’d almost arrived home because he purposely didn’t turn on his phone to enjoy a peaceful, zen-like drive to civilization. As it turns out, two weeks can change the world:
“When I went away, there were about 150 cases. And just in that short amount of time, when I came out, there was a shutdown, a state of emergency and the whole world had changed… The idea is that you go away, you get rid of your phone, you get rid of distractions, you get rid of everything and you just meditate… But when we were in there, they didn’t tell us.”
Leto then remarked that his “great tool to deal with stress and things and life” had taken a “shocking” twist because no one could have truly prepared for the scale of this pandemic, which has brought great suffering to many millions of people. It sounds like Leto, who previously described the situation as “mind blowing,” wouldn’t mind another silent retreat when all of this is finally over. But first, we’ll see him return as The Joker for Zack Snyder’s Justice League director’s cut in March. And that’s guaranteed to be a performance that’s either silent nor retreating.