E! Online - Question & Answer
E! Online: So, in answer to your question, no, this isnīt going "live". Itīs just a regular olī interview, only you read in online instead of in print.
Leonardo: O, I see. Yeah, my dad handles all that Internet stuff.
E! Online: You donīt go online?
Leonardo: Well, sometimes. I like to go on just to see what people are saying about me. I get a kick out of that.
E! Online: I bet they talk about your name. Itīs a great name.Itīs practically Shakesperean.
Leonardo: O yeah?
E! Online: Yeah.
Leonardo: Iīve always thought of it as Italian.
E! Online: Well, yes , of course, but Shakespeare obviously wrote Italian stories.
Leonardo: Yeah, I like my name. My parents were in the Uffizi Gallery looking at a Leonardo da Vinci when my mom felt the kick. Thatīs how I got my name. My parents were real hippies.
E! Online: Why did you choose this project?
Leonardo: Because of Baz Luhrmannīs ideas on Romeo. Before, I had a lot of clichéd ideas about the story.
E! Online: How so?
Leonardo: That it was the classic love story, a cliché. I think a lot of people have that idea. But then I learned Baz really wanted to understand it and get rid of the stereotypes.
E! Online: What stereotypes?
Leonardo: The fact that Romeo is dopey, lovey-dovey, and itīs a corny story. And I was afraid Iīd look like a fuffy.
E! Online: Fuffy??
Leonardo: Yeah, a fuffy.
E! Online: How do you spell that?
Leonardo: (Growing impatient) F-U-F-F-Y.
E! Online: I see.
Leonardo: So Baz helped me to get into my character.
E! Online: Had you read the play before?
Leonardo: Not since junior high. But making this movie, for me, is making Shakespeare accessible to a lot larger audience, people who have the same view of Shakespeare as I did. The characters are really timeless.. You know, Romeo is just a normal guy who talks about a bunch of girls until he meets Juliet, who makes him spin, then he marries her. And it was all very risky. He obviously risked his life for her.
E! Online: Think youīd ever risk your own life for love?
Leonardo: Thatīs a tricky question.
E! Online: Yes, I know.
Leonardo: It depends on the girl. I would definitely save her life. But as far as committing suicide, I donīt think that would happen.
E! Online: So, you wouldnīt die for love?
Leonardo: It depends. If I was in an accident and I had to risk my life to save hers, I would.
E! Online: Are you now or have you ever been in love to that degree?
Leonardo: Thatīs personal.
E! Online: Yes, but Iīm not asking for names - Iīm asking if you ever have felt those emotions -it seems german to me because of the part.
Leonardo: Love is that kind of thing that when you fall in love, you know it immediately. I love a lot of people in different ways.
E! Online: Did you ever see any past versions of Romeo and Juliet?
Leonardo: Just the Zeffirelli version.
E! Online: Whatīd you think?
Leonardo: I thought it was good. Our version seemed to me much more violent - and much less romantic. So, in other words, the violence was updated but not the romance.I think that what Baz did was try to create all aspects of the story -I do think the love aspects of the story are there, and I donīt think that any of the other stuff was closed out. Violence was a big part of that world. It was a whole world of violence. The only thing is, now itīs a world of guns instead of swords.
E! Online: Do you see an AIDS analogy?
Leonardo: How so?
E! Online: That weīre a society constantly on the brink of death - always walking that line.
Leonardo: I never thought of that before. Mainly, I saw it as the battle of two opposing families. I definitely see an analogy to different religions, though.
E! Online: What do you make of all this heartthrob business?
Leonardo: Itīs a weird feeling when people are defining you, and you havenīt even defined yourself. When itīs written down who I am yet, or what kind of actor I want to be. Iīm still in a stage of discovery.
E! Online: As you should be.
Leonardo: You have to hold on to who you are. The press is a powerful influence.
E! Online: Howīs Titanic going?
Leonardo: Titanic is a whole new venture for me. Iīve never gone to something this commercial before. Itīs good for me to be doing something like this - and, of course, itīs a love story.
E! Online: Is your career unsinkable at this point?
Leonardo: Whoa! What a question! Unsinkable - that question really fits. Thatīs really good!
E! Online: Well, is it?
Leonardo: I donīt know. You never know whatīs going to happen. Because one season youīre hot, the next youīre cold.
E! Online: Right now, Iīd say youīre hot, hot, hot.
Leonardo: Thatīs why Iīve got to keep control.
E! Online: Are you a real-life Romeo?
Leonardo: That would take a long answer. I agree with a lot of things he said and thought. I admire him. We have a lot of things in common. But I wouldnīt go as far as he did. I simply donīt have the guts.