Excerpt from Juice magazine
Agnieszka Holland on Arthur Rimbaud and Leonardo DiCaprio
"I think that he was the kind of anti-Christ," Holland says. "He had the courage to go through the fire, to experience everything. Not being afraid to go to the bottom of everything possible and encourage, insolent courage is fascinating. Verlaine wanted to be like that, but he abandoned it." While the young poet is considered a genius, after becoming desillusioned, Arthur Rimbaud renounced poetry at 18 and never wrote again. "His expectations were bigger than what he was able to achieve," Holland says. "When you want too much, you have to always be disappointed."
"These were very non-conformary people, Rimbaud especially. You can ask yourself if the choice of this relationship was really a choice in sexual orientation or his intellectual choice. But certainly the fact that it was two men together at this particular time makes it more tense, more extreme."
Holland was familiar with DiCaprio´s work before she casted him. "I had seen two movies he had done, and he was so good, so charismatic and brave. This beautiful angelic child. And I thought it was very important in the context of the age and the look of the story." Now that DiCaprio´s a big star, does Holland think his appetite for offbeat projects will diminish? Rimbaud is not a role someone like Tom Cruise would be willing to undertake, and already DiCaprio is attempting to sue Playgirl magazine for trying to publish stills of sex scenes from the film.
"I don´t know. He is a deeply interesting young man with a lot of integrity. I hope that he will survive and not become a prisoner of his fame. It is very difficult to be a big star and a great actor. It is not the same image. But he is certainly one of the most talented actors I have ever worked with. If he will give himself some chance if not to abandon the acting, which I think he doesn´t want to. I think he can still surprise us a lot of the time.