Jared Leto is a Hollywood enigma. Not only has he somehow managed to discover the fountain of youth, he’s also stayed revelant and reinvented himself many times over. Now, most of us were introduced to Mr. Leto back when he was Jordan Catalano — the iconic, flannel-wearing jerk on My So-Called Life. If you never had a crush on Jordan Catalano, then frankly, you just don’t count as a person in my book. I don’t care what gender or sexual orientation you may be, love for Jordan Catalano knows no bounds.
Anyway, his TV heartthrob days may be long gone, but he’s been occupying himself by appearing in a slew of semi-decent movies. Since 2002, he’s also been the frontman and main songwriter for 30 Seconds to Mars, a band that has had outrageous success despite being somewhat…mediocre. (I’m allowed to say that, he’s my husband.)
Given these career milestones, Leto’s bachelor status, and the strange success/utterly devoted fanbase he has overseas, this leads me to think that he’s got a lot in common with another famous TV legend and musician — the one and only (wait for it) David Hasselhoff.
Check out these career parallels and tell me you don’t see the similarities:
Exhibit A: Crush-Worthy TV Roles
Yes, yes, yes, Leto was the poster boy for 90s romantic angst, but The Hoff set the standard with iconic 80’s and 90’s gems Knight Rider and Baywatch. Many a mom felt a flutter when Hasselhoff tossed his shiny curls and zoomed across the screen in a tricked-out talking car or hit the waves, revealing his bulging biceps and hairy chest. While Leto can’t really compete in this category, we do have to give him props for showing us that leather pants and black eyeliner on guys can be smokin’ sexy hot (but only if you’re sort of androgynous and have a really good waxing regimen).
Exhibit B: Questionable Mental States
Leto’s devotion to character acting has been highly documented and (in our books) rides a fine line between dedication and cray-cray. When he prepared to play heroin addict Harry Goldfarb in Requiem for a Dream, he reportedly lived on the streets of New York City and refused to have sex with his then-fianc Cameron Diaz prior to shooting. He followed that up by developing a bad case of gout after gaining a ton of weight (and then losing it just as quickly) to get into character while playing Marc David Chapman in Chapter 27. Meanwhile, The Hoff is just…well, crazy. We all remember the “drunk cheeseburger” incident. I don’t know, let’s just say that they are both seriously devoted to their craft, but Hasselhoff wins for YouTube viralbility.
Exhibit C: Weirdly Obsessed Foreign Fanbase
We all know the Germans love Hasselhoff — I mean, he performed on the damn Berlin Wall in 1989. — that pretty much says it all, right? Meanwhile, the Japanese are just as psycho over Leto. (Like, “boil-your-bunny-try-to-kill-your-wife” Fatal Attracion– level obsessed.) Both of these gentlemen are often misunderstood back here in the states, but put them on a plane and drop them off in the middle of their fanbase and watch the riots ensue. Sure, they may be dimissed for their eccentricities here, but few people can say that there’s whole websites dedicated to drawing you in animae, or that they’ve had the honor of starring in a German 7-11 commerical.
Exhibit D: Ultimate Playboy Personas
While The Hoff has been married twice, Leto’s played the field with such actresses as Cameron Diaz, Scarlett Johansson, and Ashely Olsen. Neither seems inclined to settle down anytime soon, which leads me to believe they’ll both end up with 19-year-old supermodels late into their 70s, bouncing babies on their laps while grumbling about their enlarged prostates.
Exhibit E: Strange Bedfellows
Weird celebrity friendships are another thing these guys have in common. While Jared Leto has a beyond odd love affair with freaky fashion photog Terry Richardson, Hasselhoff pals around with the likes of R&B singer Jason DeRulo (so sayeth his Twitter feed). Wouldn’t it be awesome if they both hung out with a posse of accountants and computer programmers instead? Come on, just picture them up on stage, lovingly sending a shout-out to “the boys that do my taxes and stop all that porn spam from taking over my hard drive.”
Yes, it may be a stretch to imagine Leto walking a mile in Hasselhoff’s shoes, but given he’s closing in on the big 4-0 and is still clinging to his youthful bad boy ways, we wouldn’t be terribly shocked to see him sitting next to Sharon Osbourne on America’s Got Talent ten years down the road. (Seriously, it could happen.)