Jared Leto Recalls Shock At Emerging From Silent Retreat Into Full-Blown Pandemic

Jared Leto famously emerged from a 12-day silent meditation retreat in March 2020 to find the world plunged into lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Oscar-winning actor opened up about the strange and surreal experience — likening it to “coming out to the zombie apocalypse” — on “The Tonight Show” Monday.

“When I went away, there were about 150 cases,” Leto recalled to host Jimmy Fallon. “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. But when we were in there, they didn’t tell us.”

Leto said he and other guests remained blissfully unaware of the developments in the outside world because cellphones, televisions and talking were all prohibited at the retreat.

“I didn’t turn on my phone until I went back to LA, so I drove the whole way, you know, trying to be like peaceful and zen, keep the feeling going,” Leto explained. “I got back and I was kind of shocked. It was like Rip Van Winkle.”

Fallon suggested it was “like a ‘Twilight Zone’ episode, but in real life.”

“I had this great tool to deal with ‘stress’ and things in life, but I don’t think anything can quite prepare any of us for what we all went through at the beginning,” Leto said.

The coronavirus has now killed more than 420,000 people nationwide.

Watch the interview here:


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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.