December 4, 1996
By Prairie Miller
Interview about Marvin´s Room
Hollywood bad boy Leonardo DiCaprio is at it once again, resurfacing as a havoc wreaking character in Marvin´s Room, not to mention Romeo and Juliet. DiCaprio described with great relish his role as the crazed teenage son in Marvin´s Room, and how he gets to drive mom Meryl Streep crazy. In this otherwise tender drama about family commitment in the face of the major illness, DiCaprio really gets committed after burning Streep´s house down and disrupting family life in general.
Prairie Miller: Was it scary for you to be the bad guy who has to snarl at this star studded cast throughout the movie?
Leonardo DiCaprio: Obviously there´s going to be that side of it, that I´m just going to look like a nerd compared to all of them, including Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton.You feel like you´re going to be on screen just completely not seeming real at all. But once you get over that and you´re comfortable with them, then it´s like a rush, a challenge. The great thing about actors like Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep is that they challenge you. They´re sitting there and they´ll look you right in the eye, and they´ll do something that strikes you completely from the field. And you have to come back with something, it´s like a game which rarely gets to be played, I love it.
PM: How did you get all that great negative chemistry going with Meryl Streep?
LD: The question I usually get is, were you intimidated working with a person of this caliber. I loved working with Meryl Streep, she´s awesome. She´s hard core, too, she´s just the most hard core woman in the world. She´s so, I don´t know, she´s great. Hard core in the sense that she just knows what she´s doing. She walks on the set and she´s charged, she´s just ready. And it´s like, you can´t mess with her. You just can´t, and I wouldn´t. But she´s a normal human being, she jokes around and she´s funny, but she´s not to be mesed with.
PM: Are you anything like the dark characters you play?
LD: No, I don´t think so. I´m so low-keyed, it´s unbelievable. I get weirded out when I hear about all the artists who degrade themselves in order to get into the character. I don´t take it to those extremes. I think that´s a path to destroying yourself. It´s a path you take in order to not be around on this earth, and I don´t want to do that. That´s the great thing about acting, that I can do things that I would never attempt to do in real life That´s the beauty of being an actor, that you can explore and do all these things and it´s not like you have to suffer the consequences.