I was not going to let fame affect me. I was
going to defy it.
Excerpts from an interview with Gene Hackman
from Studio (France), May 2000
Q: While the filming of The Quick and The Dead, youīve been working with Leonardo DiCaprio. How did you make out his transformation to a star?
Gene Hackman: Sharon Stone had relinquished a part of her salary in order to get him among the cast. I didnīt know DiCaprioīs work; I just had seen a part of his movie with Robert De Niro, This Boyīs Life, and I had heard about Gilbert Grape. Interesting. On the set, I was liking him very much, on a human level; he was a very cool and sensitive kid. On the other hand, he didnīt know his lines, he seemed not to care about them, and I was not paying much attention to him. Up to the day when we shot this scene where he simulated his own death, this fantastic moment when he suddenly realizes heīs gonna die. At this moment, I have been thinking: "Wow, this kid can really act." Heīs a marvellous actor. Success has nothing to do with it. He owns THE real talent.
From an interview with Russell Crowe (~1997)
Here's a an excerpt from an interview with Academy Award Winner Russel Crowe:
Who are some of your influences? Any?
No, not really. There's a lot of people that I admire.
Have you gotten to work with any of them?
Yeah, Leonardo DiCaprio. He's the real deal, baby. I'll tell you straight up. People ask me about him quite regularly. That was the one thing that was so obvious when I started working with him on The Quick and the Dead. He's just that guy that's got it inside. He just has the instinct for it and you don't come across that that often -- maybe Anthony Hopkins. I got to work with him, too.
"I knew the second I saw that kid, he's just the one. Leonardo is like Mozart, there's not a lot of that. People don't know it yet because of the kind of movies he's done and because he looks like a kid. But, like the Magic 8 ball says,"It will be revealed." It will be revealed with Leonardo DiCaprio. If he makes it. It's such a hideous thing, what's happened to him. I can't think of anything worse."
Sharon Stone on Leonardo, who starred in "The Quick and the Dead" with him in 1995
Agnieszka Holland about finding Leonardo for her film about Rimbaud
"I needed to find a child-man, someone who has this power and presence and arrogance and beauty," she says. "I was so happy when DiCaprio accepted."
"He has this incredible emotional imagination. When I observe him at work, I get the impression that he opens his body and the character comes in. It was the same in Gilbert Grape. Technically, heīs a bit like a medium."
Lasse Hallström in an interview for The Guardian (UK) - Spring 2001 :
Q: Were you surprised with the way Leonardo DiCaprio's career took off after Gilbert Grape?
Lasse Hallström: I remember saying he was going to be a big star one day. Go back into the archives and look it up! I really thought he was brilliant. I think he'd be good at anything he'd do. The Titanic experience must have been horrifying for him but things are sort of back to normal now.
A Conversation with Diane Keaton - by Henri Behar
From Film Scouts - December 22, 1996
Q: Are you also on the same wave length as actresses? (Compared to Meryl Streep)
Diane Keaton: Only wish! No. Meryl is another planet.Another zone. Her gift is just so... Thereīs no word for it. You know, she and Leonardo DiCaprio are both great mimics. They are classically what you would consider a great actor or a great actress. And De Niro, too! But Meryl can just do anything, and so can Leonardo! They both would be doing accents, and see this person or that person and just do it like them and all that nonsense... Not me! I mean, you know, Iīm stuck with me. Iīd love to get into that high rung of the hierarchy, playing all different kinds of parts, and yet being completely believable. In anything! īCause thereīs nothing vague about it at all, you canīt get away with that shit unless you know now how to do it really well.
Q: What kind of future do you see for Leonardo?
Diane Keaton: I think Leonardo is going to do it all. Heīll play everything and do everything. Heīs astonishing. Heīs a light. Heīs another light. Sheīs alight, too. Sheīs like a brilliant light, and so is he. And so is Robert De Niro, in his own unique way.
Interview with Kathy Bates by James Lipton on "Inside The Actorīs Studio"
Q: For the three people who havenīs seen it, whom did you play in Titanic?
Kathy Bates: The iceberg. But if you blinked, you missed me. No, I got to play Molly Brown.
Q: Now Molly Brown befriens the starcrossed lovers.
Kathy Bates: Yes, itīstrue and you know everywhere now I go to buy cosmetics the little girls are lining up, and I know itīs not for my autograph. I just want you to know itīs only because I was on the boat with him. Iīm convinced thatīs it.
Q: You got him dressed up in a tuxedo.
Kathy Bates: I did. I touched him; I did ! (Big laugh and cheer rom the audience)
Q: For the one person who doesnīt know, whom are you talking about?
Kathy Bates: Leo! Leonardo DiCaprio! Heīs so funny. Heīs just crazy.
Q: Heīs crazy?
Kathy Bates: Yeah, heīs funny and crazy and heīs a kid! Itīs amazing to me. You see this kid - heīs a kid!! You know and then you seeee - the camera goes and then he delivers this beautiful performance. Heīs a phenom! It amazes me; he doesnīt shift gears; I donīt see where the gears are. Heīs amazing! ...
Heīs just a nice guy. Like any guy of 25. Sweet. Playful. He makes jokes. Heīs very simple. He doesnīt act like a superstar. Heīsreally normal, I swear.
Leo is amazing. That guy has so much charm, he could lure the panties of a nun.
Whatīs the downside to being rich, gorgeous and revered? Ask somebody else.
DiCaprio has taken alot of flaks this year for enjoying his Titanic success. Some moralists worry that heīs wasting time by carousing with his friends and chasing women. To me, he and his "posse", as the group is often dismissively called in the press, behave the way young men in their 20s are prone to behave. They have fun. Why should he hide, or move to Montana, or take up yoga? What he enjoys is nightclubs. More power to him. We in the media should get down on our knees and give thanks for DiCaprio. It has been a long time since Iīve had so much fun reporting about a celebrity. He is only following in the grand tradition of Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty. Leave the kid alone.
by RICHARD JOHNSON (New York Post gossip columnist) - 1998 -
Leo is all for living life to the full but with a healhy belief in self-preservation.
He likes to party, but he isnīt caught up in it. (Patrick McMullan)
Heīs a very cunning, calculating, shrewd and smart guy. He would run away from anybody and anything that might sabotage him. He doesnīt want to fail. (James Toback)
Heīs the most down-to-earth person Iīve met. Very un-Hollywood. (Mark Wahlberg)
"I feel Leoīs joy of life and his energy. He has a positive life energy that is very charismatic and infectious. It is more than his looks... he glows from within and reaches out with his force in his roles."
- from a fan from the boards (it could be me, but itīs not!)
Claire Danes in Vogue, August 1998:
Iīm on the edges of Leomania, and Iīm feeling the energy, and the heat, and the intensity of whatīs happening to him. Itīs petrifying. We were at the Man in the Iron Mask premiere together, and he got up and walked across the room to see his mother, and the entire side of the room stood up and followed him. There were 60 people, and they just followed him. Itīsbeyond weird. But heīs so charismatic. There are some people who are just really engaging. It makes sense. Iīm just glad that itīs not me.
From Film Unlimited (UK)
Kate Winslet about Leonardo DiCaprio and the Titanic fame
"It always seems unreal to me, pretty unbelievable. I say - 'Kate, how has this happened?' - But it would seem more unreal if I lived in Malibu and had three cars. I saw Leo the other day. I was at a party for Quills (the film about the Marquis de Sade she has recently finished filming). Me and Jim were leaning up against the bar and this posse of boys came in wearing masks and Halloween gear. I recognized him from the way he walked. He ripped the mask off. He hadnīt changed a bit. Of course, heīs famous, one of the most famous actors in the world. But heīs the same person and Iīd been so worried about him. He still does care about everything he does. He hasnīt just become some bullshit filmstar. I hate all of that crap. I wonīt do it!"
Leonardo in an interview for Mr Showbiz:
I have sort of always realized that thereīs always a new pretty face and you definitely want to be remembered for your work rather than being sort of hunk of the month type of deal. Thatīs what Iīve always aimed for, I donīt know how long whatever is going to last. Itīs like something I donīt expect is going to stay around forever. What you want is your work to speak for itself and as far as these fans are concerned, I like it. Itīs great to have that kind of attention, but itīs also strange at the same time because you donīt know any of these people individually. You know what I mean? You have your people in your life which is people that influence you, but it almost becomes surreal and unrealistic because most of the people you donīt really know. So itīs hard to feel a lot from it, you know.
NY Daily News - November 1998
Woody Allen on Leonardo
Allen: It would be nice if the near-psychotic adoration of Leonardo spilled over to this move. In the case of Leonardo, I think the adoration is deserved on the basis of his acting. I only saw him because I went to see Diane Keaton in Marvin's Room. I liked the picture and I said to Keaton, "Who is that kid?" She said he was a really nice kid and a great actor. Then, when we were casting Celebrity, his name came up as someone to play the crazy young actor in the movie. I said he'd be wonderful. Then 6 months later, Titanic opened and the world discovered him as this beautiful kid. But he's a genuine talent. He's not a flavor of the month. He can really act.
Is he a nice guy? He gets mugged in print.
Allen: I found him lovely - couldn't have been nicer to work with, sweet as could be. Cooperative, a good disposition and a great actor. He was ad-libbing all over the place because I let my actors do that. His instincts were just great. The sentences he was making up were his, not mine and they were great. He is definitely gonna be around for a long, long time in a big, big way.
James Cameron about Leo
He may not have studied acting in a formal sense, but heīs had ample opportunity to work with some of the best actors. Heīs an absolute chameleon and a study of human behaviour.
Randall Wallace about Leo - New York Daily New - March 13, 1998
When you saw him in 'Gilbert Grape' and 'Basketball Diaries', you knew he was not just a keen observer of life, but he has real affection for it. Heīs a tremendously instinctive actor and also an intelligent actor, which is a fantastic combination. And heīs also smart enough not to let his intelligence overwhelm his instincts. Whatever he decides to do, I think he will do it well.
John Travolta about actors:
I have always thought the greatest actors are those who are playful ... who are childlike. Whenever you get together with (Marlon) Brando, all he wants to do is to play games.
Martin Scorsese in 1999 on Leo :
I like his acting process. It's very detailed, very true. He has something unique when he's on screen that a lot of other young actors only develop later or never get at all. De Niro had it and so did the young (Al) Pacino. That's what he's got right now and he could be the De Niro of the new century.
Cameron Diaz about Leo in Rome (Nov. 23, 2000):
I donīt understand why people hang outside his hotel all night. People donīt do that to me. I have different kinds of fans. My fans are usually very respectful and just want to say 'hi' and that kind of thing, and thatīs nice. But when people become fanatical, you canīt help but feel that youīre responsible for those people in some way. I think that is very odd and very selfish of those people to keep someone a prisoner like that. You know, for a lot of those girls that are out there infront of his hotel, nothing Leonardo does is enough for them. He canīt come outside and say 'hello' enough times: he canīt do anything enough times. I think itīs unfair that heīs kept almost like a prisoner because of them. .... It makes his world very small, and I totally feel for him. To have so much and then because of that have so little at the same time. But heīs a happy boy.
From a UK newspaper
A quote by Claire Danes :
When I first met Leo I was quite shy and nervous but he was very easy to get along with, he wasn't a big star as such back then, but he had certainly been noticed. Infact I found him quite geeky...but an entertaining geek (laughs). I don't think many people know this, but I met up with him a few weeks ago, before he started filming his new movie with Martin Scorsese and I hate to say it but I have noticed a dramatic change in him, not so much his personality as he is still the same geeky Leo and a great guy, he really is, don't get me wrong, but I have noticed a change in the way he carries himself, he is more aware and I guess..more untrusting.
I do not want to promote my private life.
And at least: A small interview with Leoīs mom Irmelin