This interview is courtesy of Lou810, who made the transcript - thanks a lot for sharing !

 

Transcript made from the BE.TV Show, aired Sunday Dec 23, 2007,
from the show” Exterieur Jour”.
Host : Daphné Roulier

 

Transcript – La grande interview.

DR : Leonardo DiCaprio “bonjour”

LDC : “Bonjour” (in french)

DR : You’re in Marrakech to present “The 11th Hour”, a film that you produced, 150 hours of interviews, 54 historians, thinkers, scientists, politicians, among others Mikail Gorbatchev, the scientist Stephen Hawkin, the former CIA manager James (???)… Is this film a way to offer them a forum which they wouldn’t have been given in the general media ?

LDC : Yes, that’s it … the film is a tribute to their work… They have dedicated their life to the environmental cause. The reason I made that film has nothing to do with my political opinions, nor my personal opinion on the ecological debate. It’s really a tribune given to them, they can speak free about the subject (….) The frustration that I had was coming from the american media. With this film I wanted to give those people a free forum so they can share with us their opinions, the informations they have devoted the entierety of their life to (…) It took us years to gather all those informations and make our film.

(Clip of the 11th Hour)

DR : Have you been subjected, you, Leonardo DiCaprio, to some pressure, intimidations ? because we know that the oil lobby do its best to disinform the people about environmental issues…

LDC : Oh yeah I was attacked… even in my personal life. Once the film was announced, it’s almost expected. There’s a great hypocrizy about that subject, particularly in the U.S. (…) we have not signed yet the Kyoto protocol, we have not even made the minimum to reduce our carbon emissions… The film is about awareness, and if people become aware it would make political changes. Ultimately, that’s a big publicity. For the planet.

DR : Do you think that this film will be aired on american TV networks ?

LDC : We’ll see about that…

DR : What are you doing about that ?

LDC : Well, the only thing I can do is what I did… produce the film and promote it around the world (…). The response has been fantastic and positive but it’s always so complicated, to involve people in a situation that seems so…dark you know… (…)

DR : Yes, it’s true that the big difference between your documentary and Al Gore’s “Unconvenient Truth” is that you bring concrete solutions. But… to bring concrete solutions to the public, the film must be seen…

LDC ; Well, I think that if it weren’t for Al Gore’s film, that came out at the right moment (…) and because and thanks to him, ten years ago, I became an environmentalist, (…) I met him at the White House, we sat and chatted and he drew me the planet, the atmosphere around and he explained me what the issue was. At that moment I didn’t know anything about it.

DR : Yes, you say that he is the first one who made you feel down (freaking up ?) ?

LDC : Yeah… he’s extremely passionate, even back then… [Then Leo speaks about his engagements in NRDC etc.]. I think our film, the 11th Hour starts when Al Gore’s film ends. (…) Giving some solutions. At the end of the day, you realize how complex is the situation. But the awareness I can see now is day and night compared to what it was three years ago. (…)

DR : Do you think that the Nobel Prize given to Al Gore is a step towards the awareness and a strong signal given to the industrial lobbies ?

LDC : I think it’s a prime example of the awareness…(…) and that’s really Al Gore’s film that made things change (…) It’s so difficult to understand how our everyday actions can affect the planet…. Ultimately it’s important that also our political leaders get involved so that no more we’ll be trying to get the best eco-car, the best eco-bulb etc. Eco-companies we could invest in, there are millions of solutions but they must be integrated in our everyday life…

DR : But yes, as you said, the ecological fight starts in the ballots. So, Barak Obama or Hillary Clinton ?

LDC : Ummhh… to tell you the truth I haven’t decided yet. I haven’t yet heard many propositions about environment in their programs…(…) I supported John Kerry in the last elections, spoke in 15 cities. (…) It’s time to have a democrat president so I’d be happy with either of them.

DR : Why not using fiction films to make people aware about environmental issues, instead of a documentary, which can be more difficult and may discourage the general audience, like you did it, about another issue, in “Blood Diamond” with Edward Zwick… ?

LDC : Well, I always chose my films because of the character or the subject or the director I feel engaged with.. (…) but ultimately my actor’s choices don’t always mix with my preoccupations and you can’t endllesly wait for your dreamed script. I’ve been looking for a long time for an environmentally film, because it would match my personal opinions and it would be very emotional but I have not been able to find that material yet.

DR : Why not suggesting a pure 100% environmental film to Scorsese ?

LDC : (Laughs). It’s all about the script ! If I had found one I would be producing it !

(little break)

DR : Syriana’s production, with George Clooney, invested in renewable energies, and carbon free sets. Are you concerned by shooting a film like that ? Carbon free ?

LDC : Well, I do that personally, for myself… but I hope that in the future the studios will make it automatically… I talked to executives about it, but at the end of the day the last word remains… profit. So I will continue, I have to continue to do that, I won’t give up… but, as I said, the more you continue the more you realize how difficult it is to make those big conglomerates change.

DR : Do you – for example – insit to have bio-food, fair trade coffee, on a set ?...

LDC : [Laughing] Fair trade costumes ?

DR : [Laughing] I know…

LDC : No I think everything can be done to a certain extent but I don’t force people to drink organic coffee on the set [Laughs]. Like I said before, it’s a publicity game. The more people who will become aware of the impact of their everyday actions on the planet, that’s my purpose. What I did with The 11Th Hour and my TV serie EcoTown.

DR : So…

LDC : But it’s also important not judging people. The situation depends also on social factors and I don’t want to say to people, “This is what you must do”. (…) The essentials is making changes in your everyday life and decide who you want to vote for in the next election. (…)

DR : So… we’ve been talking about Leonardo DiCaprio the citizen… now let’s talk about the actor… You have made 3 films with Scorsese, three others are in preparation, most of them our historical pieces. Why ?

LDC : You know… I’ve always wanted to work with Scorsese and I think we are both very interested by history… When we chat about the modern world and politics, we always – no, He – always refer to history, the Roman Empire or Ancient Greece… or other moments of history where we make the same mistakes. It proofs that we are not learning from our history. (…) That’s a theme we find in his films and that matters for me.

DR : You like that ?

LDC : Yeah. I’m fond of history and the first film we made together, Gangs of New York, talked about that gathering of different cultures, the melting pot, the misunderstandings, how America was created. (…) The Aviator was a completely different story but nevertheless related to the american capitalism… Scorsese is completely attracted by history and the possibilities are endless…

DR : You argued a lot with Scorsese on the set of GONY. And is it from those arguments that birthed your mutual intimacy ?

LDC : No no no, we didn’t argue…

Dahpne, noddling gently…

LDC : Were you there ?

DR : Martin told me…

LDC (Laughing) : We argued at the beginning… but just a little… about the scruture of the script… In the film making process we saw that it would be a different way to work… I think at the beginning of GONY filming, he misinterpreted my curiosity and my endless questions about the story, the characters, as possibly me trying to dissect the script, make trouble but once we got the connexion, we were sure we were working to make the best movie we could. Later my curiosity interested him…

DR : You became closer…

LDC : Yeah..

DR : Would you say that you are, Leonardo, his legatee son, his alter-ego, his double, his fantasy, his speaker, a two headed hydra… ?

LDC : [Laughing] A two headed Hydra ? Wow… That’s really a french question…

DR : [laughing too] Why… tell me. Because I see you like this….

LDC : It’s really difficult for me to speak about our working relationship… I can’t speak for him… (…) but for me… the thing that attracks me most (…) that no matter the energy, the concentration I gave, our work is like a time capsule… Each day spent on the set will remain on a film, and that’s important. It’s also very stressing and exciting, and scarry. To me the most important films are those in which that emotional truth is present. Films that generations and generations will keep watching. (…) For my friends and I in LA, watching films made by Scorsese and other directors were a reference… and it will continue for the next generations… and working with one of those men who made those generational films is like standing at a different level as far as cinema is concerned. It’s beeing involved at a different level of stress and excitement and stimulation. Because each time you come on the set, you know that you’re gonna work with a man of that calibra… Each actors on a Scorsese set can feel the adrenaline coming up… To me he has also been a great teacher, a great collaborator, he trusts actors, which is a great feeling, on each film you feel that your opinion counts and that you are allowed to trust your instincts, that’s important.

DR : Leonardo, how do you succeed Deniro in the life and work of Scorsese ?

LDC : I try not to think about it…

DR : It’s a french question ?

LDC : Truthfully they were for me the cinematographic duo ever… so I can’t really reply.

DR : Scorsese says that you have… that your vulnerability… makes him think about Montgomery Clift in Red River and From Here To Eternity…

LDC : [Smiling] Is it true ? I think that… any acting comes from a sort of vulnerability, of pain, that’s not something that happens on its own. You have to draw upon things that happen in your past. I ‘ve had my own… well…I’ve had my own experiences and it brought me tools to work with, emotions but… I can’t tell you that I agree with this and that reference about me… I just, you know…

DR : Your partner, Cate Blanchett, in The Aviator, was, in the same time, impressed and frightened by your performance, particularly in a scene, when you are naked and having delirious ideas… and she said she was scared you were becoming crazy…

LDC : ummmhhh… I think that some characters impose to us different levels. That’s the case with TA. It was the first time in my life that it happened. It was the firt time in my life that I felt so emotionnally involved in a story that we were telling. We have been working on that project during 8 years and I’m very nostalgic about that shooting. Thanks to GONY I had the opportunity to work again with Marty on that project. And it was a true collaboration, in the pure sense of the word, we spent hours discussing HH’s life, the places he’s been, we spoke equal to equal with Marty, I was very involved in that movie, yes. For other characters, inspiration comes more easily, but for TA I had to explore unknown feelings and find new emotions and answers I didn’t expected. So that film is very specific for me.

DR : Is that character, of Aviator, very close to you ? Very close to what you are ?

LDC : Ummhhh… Is he close to me ?

DR : I think so….

LDC : [Making a desperate smile] Hopefully not…

Daphné is laughing…

LDC : Hopefully not…

DR : No… in some way…

LDC : Yeah, in some way, a great amount of success like we both had… (…) and there’s also that darker side – but not only with me – that’s human nature. What happens when you got all you desired and that’s there’s nothing you can’t accomplish ? Where does that lead us emotionnally ? And this film is the representation of the wrong path, the wrong choices the hero made, because of his interior demons… So hopefully not… I hope I won’t end up like him. But I understand when you say that there are similarities between him and I.

DR : Tonight in Marrakech, you received an award, given by Martin Scorsese… You’ve been in Ouarzazate for three months fillming with Ridley Scott. The public made you a standing ovation, what do you feel about that ? You are a young 34 years old man…

LDC : Well to be honest…

DR : You’re a baby..

LDC : Well to be honest that’s a strange feeling to be honoured for your work but in the same time I grew up in that. (…) Even if I’m young and it’s weird receiving an award like that, it’s part of the experience… I’ve been working in the business for 20 years… oh my god… 20 years… Saying it, is already strange because I even don’t feel that I’m already 20 years old, so…

DR : You’re a very old young man…

LDC : Oh yeah ? Maybe ? I was about to say I’m a very young old man… but… you know… beeing here in Marrakech, It’s been about three months in the country… (…) and all the directors who filmed here don’t stop talking about the beauty of the light, that in some regions they were back in history, they all felt in love with this country and I’m happy I’m here. And… I love I received that award from Scorsese tonight because he brought me so much as an actor…

DR : I will leave you the last word Leonardo…

LDC : You leave me the last word ? …Okay…. Well… thank you for this interview…

DR : Thank you…

LDC : I hope to continue doing what I’m doing and beeing interviewed by you…

DR : That’s a deal ! Thank you very much.

LDC : Great questions, thank you.

Thanks a lot to Joke for sharing the stills !

 

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