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Jared Leto Really Wants You to Visit National Parks, Even by RV

Jared Leto started his documentary film series, The Great Wide Open, as a way to celebrate the parks and wilderness areas in the United States. In it, he and a squad of world-class rock climbers and adventurers visit five parks and document their climbs, hikes, and rafting trips. Here, the Suicide Squad star speaks with us about the experience, which he calls "the great adventure" of his life and shares some imagery from the film. The series makes its debut July 25 on Budweiser's YouTube channel.

  1. Out in the Open
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    Out in the Open

    "Being in the wilderness is a natural place for me," Leto said about the film series, whose five episodes include footage from Yosemite, the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and the Devil’s Tower. 

    Source: Great Wide Open

  2. Celebrate the Opening
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    Celebrate the Opening

    The Great Wide Open premiered at the London Hotel on July 19 in West Hollywood, Calif. Leto's companion for much of the trip is Renan Ozturk, left, a professional climber with a popular Instagram feed. Ozturk and his girlfriend Taylor Reese were among a larger group of world-class climbers, including Tommy Caldwell, Alex Honnold, and Sasha DiGiulian, who scaled massive cliffs with Leto.

     

    Photographer: Getty Images for Budweiser

  3. The Struggle of the Journey
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    The Struggle of the Journey

    Leto, 44, is himself a longtime elite rock climber and adventurer. He has been hyping the film series by posting dramatic photos of himself hanging off famous rocks on his own Instagram feed. One of the film's adventures has him joining a crew climbing El Capitan, a 3,000-foot vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park that is widely known as one of the most difficult rock climbs in the nation. 

    Source: Great Wide Open

  4. Don't Let Go
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    Don't Let Go

    Here, 23-year-old Sasha DiGiulian climbs Devil's Tower, a stunning rock formation that soars upward from the rolling prairie in Wyoming. (It was made most famous by the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.) DiGiulian began climbing when she was eight years old and has won world championships in the field. She just graduated from Columbia University. 

    Source: Great Wide Open

  5. Embrace the Outdoors
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    Embrace the Outdoors

    "We wanted to show the wild," said Leto, who is seen here celebrating at the end of a long day in the Tetons. "There is so much freedom here, out there. You're beholden to no one." 

     

    "The film started out as a way to show how people can help the parks, but in the end it became a film about how the parks have helped people," he added.

     

     

    Source: Great Wide Open

  6. A Whole New World
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    A Whole New World

    "Filming the series ended up being a greater learning experience than I had expected," Leto said. "We started with exactly the story we wanted to tell, and we ended up with an experience that was better and better with every episode." Here, the camera flies over Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in the U.S. It is just one of many stunning, alien geysers and hot springs in the national park.

    “You would have a tourist get out of an RV and say something as profound as someone who’s hanging off the edge of a 3,000-foot drop,” Leto told a group at a screening in Los Angeles earlier this month. “That was really cool to see that. Everybody having a different experience and getting something out of the parks and these places.”

    Source: Great Wide Open

  7. Into the Light
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    Into the Light

    Leto, a longtime Global Ambassador for the World Wildlife Fund, is an avid supporter of wilderness conservation, even writing op-ed pieces in news magazines in support of the bison in Yellowstone. (Here, the group summits in Yosemite.)

    Source: Great Wide Open

  8. Reaching New Heights
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    Reaching New Heights

    Here, climber Tommy Caldwell nears a summit in the Grand Tetons.  The series will begin on July 25 on Budweiser's YouTube channel. There are five episodes total, each 11 minutes long. "For Budweiser to be a patron like this is an incredible gesture," Leto said.

    Source: Great Wide Open