Source: - Dec. 24, 2012


A Devilish Look At Leonardo DiCaprio


Debra Wallace recently had a chance to chat with the delightful Leonardo DiCaprio. Leonardo DiCaprio shows how deep his acting can go in his recent portrayal of the quintessential bad guy in the new film Django Unchained. Kristyn Clarke was also able to catch up with actor Sammi Rotibi who plays a slave named Rodney in the film as well. You can listen to their chat below as they discuss what attracted him to the role, the chemistry and mood on-set along with the ways that director Quentin Tarantino will break up the tension if things get to be too much!

Opening Christmas Day, the unconventional film, was written and directed by Quentin Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds, Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction), and DiCaprio said when he read the well-crafted story and learned who his fellow co-stars were going to be, the opportunity became irresistible to him.

Set in the South two years before the Civil War, Django Unchained stars Jamie Foxx as Django, a freed slave, and German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), who embark on a Western-type quest to free Djangoís enslaved wife Broomhilda, played by Kerry Washington.

Django and Schultzís search ultimately leads them to Calvin Candie (played by DiCaprio), the inhumane proprietor of Candyland, an infamous cotton plantation. DiCaprio became lost in the role and had us believing he is the devil himself. Rounding out the cast is Samuel L. Jackson, as Candieís trusted house slave.

DiCaprio became a household name after such film hits as Titanic, Romeo and Juliet, Gangs of New York, and Whatís Eating Gilbert Grape. His other movies include: The Aviator, The Ides of March, Shutter Island, Bodies of Lies, Revolutionary Road and J. Edgar. His next big challenge is a big splashy remake of The Great Gatsby.

On a recent chilly winter day in Manhattan, DiCaprio looked dapper in a crisp powder blue shirt, Navy blazer and brown hair short and combed back in a wet look. He also looked 10 years younger than his 38 years.

ďLeonardo has a level of commitment and seriousness about his work that I donít think people recognize because heís very quiet, and heís very humble, and he keeps to himself,Ē says Django Unchained producer Stacey Sher. ďHe is the person who learned as a young man from Robert DeNiro in This Boyís Life. Heís the person who brings his intelligence, his commitment and his desire to get you closer and closer to the truth.Ē

Q:What did you learn from playing your evil character Calvin Candie in the new Weinstein movie Django Unchained?

LEONARDO DICAPRIO: Honestly, what was great about doing this role was the sense of community and the support mechanism that I had every single day.

Q: Were their difficult elements to playing such a bad guy?

LD: This was the first character I played that I had this much disdain and this much hatred for. It was a very uncomfortable environment to walk into. Iíve dealt with and seen racism in my surroundings and in my life growing up, but to the degree that I had to treat other people in this film, was incredibly difficult and disturbing. I think it was disturbing for actors on both ends of the spectrum, and it was a very uncomfortable situation.

Q: Although perhaps not the biggest villain of this movie, you play a villain non-the-less. Can you talk about what made you want to take on this role?

LD: Obviously, Mr. Tarantino was a major factor. We all read the script, there was a lot of buzz about this script for awhile, and people were talking about the next Tarantino movie that was about to come out.

Q: What was the buzz about?

LD: The fact that he tackled this subject matter, like he did with Inglorious Basterds and created his own history, and tackle something as hard core as slavery and combine it with the genre of having it be this crazy spaghetti Western feel to it, with this lead character that obliterates the cankerous, rotting south was completely exciting.

Q: Please tell me more

LD: Quentin Tarantino wrote this incredible character, and as soon as I read it I was incredibly excited. This man, is a character that represents everything thatís wrong with the South at the time. Heís this young sort of prince thatís trying to hold onto his privileges at all costs.

Q: What do you mean by that?

LD: Even though he was integrated his whole life with black people, even being brought up by a black man, and live with him his entire life, he has to find a moral justification to treat people this way, and continue his business. He lives with and is brought up by black people, yet he has to regard them as not human. There was absolutely nothing about this man I could identify with. I hated him and it was one of the most narcissistic, self indulgent, racist characters Iíve ever read in my entire life.

Q: So, given all of that you had to do it!

LD: I had to do it. It was too good, not to do. It was too good of a character in that sense. And of course, it was the opportunity to work with all these great people, too.

Q: Did you have some concerns about the violence and inhumanity being portrayed?

LD: During the initial read through I brought up the point of, Ďdo we need to go this far? Do we need to push it this far? Does it need to be this violent? Do I need to be this atrocious to other people?í Sam [Jackson] and Jamie [Foxx] both said, Ďlook man, if you sugar coat this, people are going to resent the hell out of you. You have to push this guy to the utter extremes because this is all, not only historically accurate, but it went even further than that with these atrocities.í

Q: So did you do some research into the time period and the conditions of the slaves?

LD: Yes. And once I did do even more research, and once I started to watch the documentaries, and read about the sugar plantations; yes, weíre just scratching the surface of what happened in our country. Itís a sore subject matter and itís a subject matter that should be looked at more often and not shied away from, and I commend Quentin for making a film that combines so many different genres and is as daring as it is at actually making the subject matter entertaining for an audience. Itís a daring concept.

Q: You have worked with many great filmmakers, including Ė Quentin Tarantino, Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorsese. What do they have in common in addition to appreciating your work ethic and acting abilities?

LD: Their professionalism, gifts and the education that comes from working with them is priceless.

Q: Other than acting, what other type of work have you thought of doing?

LD: Iíve honestly only had one wish since I got into this business at 13 years old, which was to be in this business forever. I truly love it. Itís the one thing that I know that I love, and I never want to stop working with amazing actors and creating something that people want to see.

Q: How do you approach making movies?

LD: I see it as an art form. You go to places where you unearth who each of these men are and the clarity comes from finding the specifics.

Q: Why is it that your adoring fans donít know that much about you? How do you stay so elusive?

LD: Iím for the most part a pretty private person. I want people to believe me in different roles, and not necessarily know way too much about me. I want to be around in this business for a long time. So really of that all works together.