Link: Esquire - February 17, 2010


Why Leo DiCaprio Is an Essential Actor

by Martin Scorsese


Commitment. Adventurousness. A sense of truth. An ability to hold the screen. These are among the rare qualities that make Leo DiCaprio an essential actor.

There's an old phrase that certainly applies to Leo: The camera loves him. In other words, his presence before the camera magnetizes us instantly, draws us into a mystery, compels us to follow him.

Of course, the camera loves a lot of faces, but there are very few actors who can work from that gift, who can take us deep into their own inner journey, which complements the greater journey of the film itself. You need talent, sensitivity, fortitude, and absolute fearlessness. Leo has it all.

I know I can trust Leo to keep not just his character but the arc of the whole film in mind while he goes as far as he needs to. And I know he's not going to let vanity get in the way. That can be a stumbling block for many actors, and understandably so, because their images define them as artists and as public figures. For Leo, it's not a question. His commitment to the truth of his character, no matter how ugly or inexplicable, is total. This is one of the qualities that I admire most about him.

Leonardo and I have worked together on four pictures now. It's been one of the great adventures of my career. He is absolutely essential to me, to all of us, and essential to the history of movies.