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Interview with Leonardo DiCaprio for Revolutionary Road:

 

 

Leonardo DiCaprio flew into London last week to discuss his latest offering, Revolutionary Road, the dramatic tale of 1950s suburban discontent, based on the acclaimed novel by Richard Yates. The film reunites DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as Frank and April Wheeler, a young married couple struggling with their marriage. Directed by Sam Mendes (Winsletís husband), the film has garnered numerous award nominations. DiCaprio told us about the struggles to make the film, whatís it like working with a husband and wife combo and why this is unlike anything heís ever done before.

 

LOVEFiLM: Did you know about the book before you got involved with the film. And did it surprise you how long itís taken to reach the screen?

Leonardo DiCaprio: Itís tough material to translate into a film format so it didnít surprise me that it hadnít been made already. Iíd never read the novel, but as soon as I read it I understood why so many people attached themselves to the book. What Yates was able to capture was that voice of doubt that we all have as weíre projecting an air of confidence. It really captured post-Industrial Revolution America, where a lot of the American value systems were first being formed and iconic imagery of a manís role and a womanís role in a household. Here are two people desperately trying to break free of that format and hold on to some form of individualism in a very contained world.

Since the unprecedented success of Titanic, have there been many attempts to bring you and Kate together again?

There were a couple of projects through the years and we would ring each other up and say, ďWhat do you think of this? Do you think we should work together?Ē We fundamentally knew that if we were going to do something we didnít want to tread on similar territory to Titanic. Not that we donít love that movie, we just knew it would be a fundamental mistake to try to repeat any of those themes. This is obviously unlike anything weíve done in the past. Itís the disintegration of a relationship.

Youíve played a lot of dreamers who come to a sticky end. Itís quite un-American in a way in that thereís no winner. Whatís the draw to these kind of characters?

That was what was great about Yatesís novel in a way. There is no clear cut hero in this film. If there is any heroic character, itís actually Kateís character. Sheís the one whoís willing to risk everything to lead the life that she wants to live. My character is entirely unheroic. Heís unable to break free of his environment.

You know, what was compelling about doing this movie is they are dealing with very real, everyday problems. If a studio were to make this film nowadays or start this project from scratch, the couple would have to win the lottery or thereíd have to be dead bodies in the basement. Thereís rarely a movie these days about people and their normal struggle to find happiness and thatís what this movieís about.


There are some extraordinary fights between you and Kate on screen, how straining are they to do for real?

Those, to tell you the truth, were the sequences that I most looked forward to. Knowing Kate for such a long period of time, I knew that we could take advantage of our friendship. You know the first thing I said when I called her up to do the movie was, ďI canít wait to do these fighting sequences. Iím really going to give it to youĒ. She said, ďI canít wait to do them myself.Ē

I actually found it a joy to do those sequences because finally these people were letting each other have it. Finally they were telling the truth to each other.


To April and Frank Wheeler, Paris is this kind of Utopia. Have you got a ďParisĒ in your life?

I donít have something like that. I think that would be a facade if I did. Whatís the John Lennon quote? ďLife is what happens while youíre making other plans.Ē

Whatís the most fun youíve ever had on a movie?

A lot of movies Iíve done recently havenít been synonymous with that word. That isnít to say that I donít love what Iíve worked on recently. The first one that comes to mind, actually, is a film I did called Celebrity many years ago with Woody Allen. That was a lot of fun. You know, the extent of the direction was [impersonating Woody Allen], ďYou can stand over there, but you donít have to.Ē And that was a very fun environment because there was absolutely no pressure. But a lot of these roles that Iíve taken on since; thereís been a lot of work involved in them. Theyíve been rewarding, but I wouldnít necessarily call them fun.

Was it a strange dynamic working with a husband and wife combination?

You know, Sam really was on the back burner while making this movie as far as the dynamic of the three of us. He let us have our own relationship on set. He realised that we were Frank and April Wheeler when we were on set as this house, and his wife was his wife off the set. And that really helped us. To me, although there were weird moments of course, it was beyond comfortable. It was like a family atmosphere. It was like a little theatre group of people and I was at their little bed and breakfast making a movie.

What do you think is the difference between you and Kate now in comparison to when you first met on the set of Titanic 13-years ago?

Kate has always had an intense work ethic. Ever since I first met her she wanted to do great work, and thatís been a part of her DNA ever since sheís been in this industry. Whatís changed about her now, by the mere nature of having done so many movies, is she no longer looks up to producers or directors as parental figures or sources of guidance. She now walks on set and can feel equal with everybody else. She is a truly amazing actress thatís able to convey so much. And itís very rare when you come across somebody that has her kind of talent.

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