Posted on the Thai-Boards - (1997)
An interview from 1997 - Leonardo talks about acting and many other things -
Q: Marvinīs Room opens soon in Japan and then at the end of the year, Titanic. Is this your first big-budget movie?
A: No, I wouldnīd say that. It may be the biggest budget. So far.
Q: How does it differ, working in a big budget film from a smaller one?
A: The food isnīt as good when the budget is low! I think salary. And who else is in it. Some stars demand a terrific salary. If theyīre in a flick, the budgetīs automatically big. Either way, for me itīs hard work.
Q: Why did you choose Titanic?
A: Seems like a good idea at the time. James Cameron is a cool guy, heīs done cool stuff, and itīs a cool love story.
Q: Can you tell me about Kate Winslet, your costar?
A: Yeah. Sheīs a real good actress and sheīs real cool, and I like her.
Q: The last survivor from the Titanic disaster died recently. Did you speak about him during filming?
A: You mean the one old lady? Not really. She was a teenager or a kid when it happened. Her father dies, and she and her mother were in a rowboat, getting rescued. So they saw him and everyone else drowning.
Q: You were with Kristen Zang at the Romeo and Juliet premiere. Can you tell us who she is? Supposedly your romance with her is creating a stir among your fans?
A: Really? Thatīs cool. Well, weīre going out together, and sheīs real cool, but itīs not... for keeps. Weīre staying cool about it.
Q: Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton praised your acting in Marvinīs Room. How does that make you feel?
A: Itīs fantastic, but itīs not a surprise for me. Theyīre both real cool people. Theyīre big talents, but theyīre not stuck on themselves, theyīre real generous in their praise. When I felt I was getting their respect, it felt fantastic. I donīt think they always give it, especially Meryl, but sheīs real cool. They act real young.
Q: What particular roles do you want to play?
A: Write me a good one, and Iīll tell you. I just want to have new challenges. I like challenges. I feel I can rise to them, and I can sense how Iīm better at this (acting) than I was two or three years ago, and itīs a progressive thing.
Q: And what actors or directors would you like to work with?
A: Directors who let me explore a role on my own. I think a director whoīs a frustrated actor is boring to work with; some directors think you work for them. I donīt like that kind. If a directorīs also an actor, he probably knows you have to find the character for yourself. Other directors just hand you a script, tell you where to enter and where to go, thatīs it. Which is better than the other sort, but itīs an empty experience. Mostly I want to be guided along a bit by good directors who arenīt afraid to take chances and do new things.
Q: When did you decide to be an actor and why?
A: It was a long time ago. Itīs no special deal. Like everyone else, I grew up on TV and I thought I could probably do it too, and then I got some opportunities, and I went with it. Itīs a lazy way out, in a way. Itīs not a career choice for which you have to go for a major education and the moneyīs way over that the effort is.
Q: Some teen actors donīt remain adult actors. Does that worry you?
A: Not so far. Not by the things Iīm offered. If Iīm washed up by 30, then thatīs that. Still, thereīs always a chance of a comeback.
Q: What do you think youīll be doing 30 years from now?
A: Having plastic surgery! Or recovering from it. How would I know? Thatīs so far from now... even if Iīm alive, I mean. If Iīm still an actor, that means I can stay an actor for life, and thatīs lucky. If Iīm in good health, thatīs cool. If I look good, if I even have my own hair... I donīt even want to think about that!
Q: Itīs said you do imitations of people. Do youhave any new impressions you do, and whoīs your favourite impression?
A: I do Jack Nicholson pretty good. So do lots of other guys. I know one girl who does him great, and she also does Carol Channing, the old actress from Hello Dolly. I tried to imitate Tom Cruise, but heīs hard to do.
Q: What would you like to take with you, to a deserted island?
A: Good food. A gun. CDs and a CD-player. Video, all that. This is too much stuff. Cyanide, in case I met up hostile natives or cannibals. Are there still cannibals anywhere?
Q: What about another person?
A: I donīt think some remote island or something is the ideal circumstance for romance. I mean, if youīre in that theoretical situation, youīre already busy enough just trying to take care of your needs and staying alive.
Q: What is your favourite kind of music?
A: Soothing. I like rock, I like some groups... but I donīt have any big favourites Iīm gonny plug.
Q: What brand of clothing do you prefer?
A: Comfortable. I mean, Armaniīs cool - heīs comfortable, he looks good, everyone wears Armani. But itīs not my thing - like I have to be seen in Armani. Whatīs the use of all that? Some people look lousy no matter what they wear. Itīs more important to look good, then the clothes wonīt matter so much.
Q: Did you like working with Claire Danes in Romeo and Juliet?
A: Sheīs great. Real cool, good Juliet, that movie was wild - when you see it, itīs a real trip.
Q: Apparently Natalie Portman tested with you for Juliet but lost.
A: They thought she was too young, or looked too young. I can sympathize with that.
(The pictures Iīve used here were taken in 1994 in Japan.)