November 9, 2011


Leonardo DiCaprio: ďI am a lot calmer nowĒ


Mr. DiCaprio, wouldnít it be nice to do a shitty romantic comedy every once in a while?

I am completely open for doing a romantic comedy but I will never do something just for the sake of doing a specific genre or because itís the time or place to do a different type of movie. I think that would be a huge mistake. Ultimately I read a script and I say, ďWoah, I am emotionally engaged in this.Ē I never think about the subject matter, what it will be to popular culture, what it means historically Ė ultimately all that stuff passes and this movie will come out and itís either good or itís not. So thatís the only way I know how to pick films, otherwise I am not connected to it.

How important is it for you to challenge yourself even further with every film that you do?

That really depends on the role. Itís always this grand search in the industry to find good material. Whenever there is good material they all jump on it and itís like a food fight to get it made. Thatís why so many things take years and years to develop because it all shows up on screen. If there are holes in the story structure, if itís not a compelling, moving narrative, that shows on screen and the movie fails.

You seem to be winning the food fight, considering the material that you get.

Itís been director driven. I have to say that whatever decisions I make, I really do think that movie making is a directorís medium. They are the people that ultimately shape the film and a director can take great material and turn it into garbage if they are not capable of making a good movie. So that is why I have chosen to work with directors that I feel can transport themselves in the audiences mind.

You have worked with Spielberg, Nolan, Eastwood, Mendes, Boyle, Cameron, not to mention you are a regular with Scorsese. Is there anyone left on your list?

There are a lot of directors Iíd still love to work with. Paul Thomas Anderson is someone Iíd love to work with. I think Alejandro GonzŠlez IŮŠrritu is very talented. Ang Lee is very talented. I mean, there are a lot of people. There are many great directors out there.

How much of your life involves making movies and thinking about movies?

A lot of it, that is for sure. (Laughs) I canít say that it isnít the most dominant thing going on right now. Look, the truth is that I always wanted to be an actor; it was always my dream and now is the time where I am really able to choose my own parts.

You have been able to do that for a whileÖ

Yes, but I know a lot of actors who I grew up with in the industry Ė growing up in Los Angeles Ė that donít get to do that. I just keep imagining myself thirty years from now thinking, ďWhy didnít you take advantage of all the opportunities you had? Look at all the people you could have worked with, the roles you could have done. Go for it.Ē And thatís what I am thinking.

So do you put other things aside?

No, I donít. Either they fit in in a natural way or they donít. I never want to force anything but I do know that ultimately this is what I love doing and those other things will find a way to happen.

So you always knew that acting is what you wanted to do?

I really donít remember. But I do remember loving to imitate my motherís friends. Iíd do little performances imitating them, making fun of them, making her laugh, making my grandparents laugh.

Sounds like you were a handful.

I kind of am an energetic person. It seems calmer now, but you should have seen me when I was younger. Whew! I would have been very difficult to be around, especially before I became a teenager. I donít know how my mother dealt with me. I was just running, constantly doing things. I am a lot calmer now, but I still have a lot of energy.

Do you ever think youíll lose that energy and try something else completely?

I could one day. But I happen to love acting, I happen to love doing movies. We are all shaped from these memories we have as young people and those were my earliest memories: wanting to be an actor, pushing my parents to take me out on auditions. I didnít even know you could get paid for it but I wanted to do it. When I found out you could get paid for it then I said, ďOkay, this is what I really want to do.Ē I am getting to fulfill that so I am not going to do anything, for now anyway, to change that.

Is it strange when you reflect on how completely youíve achieved your childhood dream?

I sometimes have to look back and say, ďWow, this is amazing what has happened to me. I have been able to fulfill a lot of these dreams that I had when I was very young.Ē I would have never guessed that I would have gotten to have one tiny role in a Martin Scorsese film and to have done four now, itís pretty amazing. I have to say itís a pretty amazing feeling. But at the same time it becomes addictive! So yes, my dreams have been surpassed.