Leonardo DiCaprio is an American-born actor whose portrayal of doomed suitor Jack Dawson in Titanic (1997) made him a generation's definition of a heartthrob. Throughout his career, DiCaprio has demonstrated a high level of dramatic versatility, from his breakout film role as a mentally-challenged teenager in What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), through his work with Martin Scorsese in Gangs of New York (2002) and The Departed (2006). More recently, DiCaprio earned critical notice for his starring roles in Christopher Nolan's Inception (2010) and J. Edgar (2011), for which he received a Golden Globe nomination.
Born in 11 November, 1974 in Los Angeles, California, DiCaprio is the only child of former comic book artist George DiCaprio and Irmelin DiCaprio. His parents signed him with a talent agent when he was a child, and DiCaprio began appearing on a number of television commercials and educational shows. Although the budding actor had small roles in such TV series as "Roseanne" (1988) and "The New Lassie" (1989), DiCaprio's made his film debut in Critters 3 (1991), a low-budget horror movie.
In 1992, DiCaprio joined what became the final season of "Growing Pains" (1985), playing a homeless boy who was invited to move in with the Seavers. The sitcom's cancelation coincided with an upswing in his career, including the starring role in the film adaptation of Jim Carroll's The Basketball Diaries (1995) and his heightened portrayal of Romeo in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet (1996). Although DiCaprio's Romeo raised his profile with audiences, his turn in the box office record-breaking Titanic (1997) graduated the actor to A-list status.
The majority of DiCaprio's post-Titanic career demonstrates a high level of selectivity in his choices. In addition to numerous collaborations with Scorsese, DiCaprio has also starred in films directed by Steven Spielberg (Catch Me If You Can (2002)), Ridley Scott (Body of Lies (2008)), and Sam Mendes (Revolutionary Road (2008)), in roles that encompass a wide emotional and dramatic range. This continues to be the case, evident in his upcoming film appearances as a mustache-twirling villain in Django Unchained (2012), soon to be followed by his performance as tragic literary character Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby (2013).
DiCaprio is passionate about environmental and humanitarian causes, having donated $1,000,000 to earthquake relief efforts in 2010, the same year he contributed $1,000,000 to the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Few actors in the world have had a career quite as diverse as Leonardo DiCaprio's. DiCaprio has gone from relatively humble beginnings, as a supporting cast member of the sitcom "Growing Pains" (1985) and low budget horror movies, such as Critters 3 (1991), to a major teenage heartthrob in the 1990s, as the hunky lead actor in movies such as Romeo + Juliet (1996) and Titanic (1997), to then become a leading man in Hollywood blockbusters, made by internationally renowned directors such as Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan. But such a rich, varied career is what you would expect from someone who has had such an unusual upbring as DiCaprio.
Leonardo DiCaprio is the only child of former comic book artist George DiCaprio and Irmelin DiCaprio (both born 1943). Leonardo's father, George, had achieved minor status as an artist and distributor of cult comic book titles, and was even depicted in several issues of American Splendor, the cult semi-autobiographical comic book series by the late 'Harvey Pekar', a friend of George's. However, Leonardo's performance skills became obvious to his parents early on, and after signing him up with a talent agent who wanted Leonardo to perform under the stage name "Lenny Williams", DiCaprio began appearing on a number of television commercials and educational programs. DiCaprio began attracting the attention of producers, who cast him in bit part roles in a number of television series, such as "Roseanne" (1988) and "The New Lassie" (1989), but it wasn't until 1991 that DiCaprio made his film debut in Critters 3 (1991), a low-budget horror movie.
While Critters 3 (1991) did little to help showcase DiCaprio's acting abilities, it did help him develop his show-reel, and attract the attention of the people behind the hit sitcom "Growing Pains" (1985), in which Leonardo was cast in the "Cousin Oliver" role of a young homeless boy who moves in with the Seavers. While DiCaprio's stint on "Growing Pains" (1985) was very short, as the sitcom was axed the year after he joined, it helped bring DiCaprio into the public's attention and, after the show ended, DiCaprio began auditioning for roles in which he would get the chance to prove his acting chops. Leonardo took up a diverse range of roles in the early 1990s, including a mentally challenged youth in What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), a young gunslinger in The Quick and the Dead (1995) and a drug addict in one of his most challenging roles to date, "Jim Carroll", in The Basketball Diaries (1995), a role which the late River Phoenix originally expressed interest in.
While these diverse roles helped establish Leonardo's reputation as an actor, it wasn't until his role as "Romeo" in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet (1996) that Leonardo became a household name, a true movie star. The following year, DiCaprio starred in another movie about doomed lovers, Titanic (1997), which went on to beat all box office records held before then, as, at the time, Titanic (1997) became the highest grossing movie of all time, and cemented DiCaprio's reputation as a teen heartthrob.
Following his work on Titanic (1997), DiCaprio kept a low profile for a number of years, with roles in The Man in the Iron Mask (1998/I) and the low-budget The Beach (2000/I) being some of his few notable roles during this period. However, in 2002, he burst back into screens throughout the world with leading roles in Catch Me If You Can (2002) and Gangs of New York (2002), his first of many collaborations with director Martin Scorsese.
With a current salary of $20 million a movie, DiCaprio is now one of the biggest movie stars in the world. However, he has not limited his professional career to just acting in movies, as DiCaprio is a committed environmentalist, who is actively involved in many environmental causes, and his commitment to this issue led to his involvement in The 11th Hour, a documentary movie about the state of the natural environment.
As someone who has gone from bit parts in television commercials to one of the most respected actors in the world, DiCaprio has had one of the most diverse careers in cinema. DiCaprio continues to defy conventions about the types of roles he will accept, and with his career now seeing him leading all star casts in action thrillers such as The Departed (2006), Shutter Island (2010) and Christopher Nolan's Inception (2010), DiCaprio continues to wow audiences by refusing to conform to any cliché about actors. DiCaprio is not merely a former teen heartthrob turned leading man, he is one of the most respected, daring and challenging actors working today.
Often appears in the films of Martin Scorsese
Plays conflicted, tortured-by-their-own-demons characters, who need to deal with their past
Often plays hard-edged anti-heroes
Intense emotional acting style
Often stars in period films or plays real-life individuals
Frequently plays men who have suffered a loss or trauma
Often plays characters who are ill-fated (e.g. The Quick and the Dead, Romeo + Juliet, Titanic, The Departed, The Great Gatsby etc.)
While filming The Beach (2000/I) off the coast of Thailand, Leonardo and others were swept off a camera boat by strong winds and waves. No one was injured. [16 April 1999]
His first publicity spot was about MILK.
Sues Playgirl magazine over plans to publish pictures --including full frontal nudity -- of himself. [March 1998]
Ranked #75 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
Was considering starring in a movie about actor James Dean but turned down the role because he felt he wasn't experienced enough to do the film. 
Screen tested for the part of Robin in Batman Forever (1995).
Chosen by People Magazine as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World." 
Attended John Marshall High School in Los Angeles, California.
Younger stepbrother of Adam Farrar.
He and his family funded a state-of-the-art computer center at the Los Feliz branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, which was rebuilt after the 1994 Northridge earthquake.
A Manhattan appeals court decided to go ahead with a $45 million lawsuit against DiCaprio by actor and screenwriter Roger Wilson for allegedly encouraging his friends in a street fight with Wilson over advances DiCaprio's friends made toward Wilson's girlfriend, Elizabeth Berkley. 
At age 10, his agent advised him to change his name to a more American-friendly Lenny Williams. Needless to say, he did not follow that advice.
In January 1999, his lawyers filed an application to allow DiCaprio to copyright his own name.
Attended Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies before attending Marshall High School.
Attended Seeds Elementary School at UCLA where he took summer courses in performance art.
Ranked #42 in Premiere's 2003 annual Power 100 List. Had ranked #74 in 2002 and #60 in 2001.
Ranked #6 in Star TV's "Top 10 Box Office Stars of the 1990s" (2003).
When his camera went missing, he offered a substantial reward of many thousands of pounds for its return. [November 2003]
Was once attached to star in American Psycho (2000) and was reputedly offered over $20 million for the role.
Openly supported John Kerry in the 2004 election. He went around 11 states and gave 20 speeches about the environment and how the Bush Administration has damaged it.
Was offered the role of the porn star Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights (1997) at around the same time as he was offered his role in Titanic (1997). The Dirk Diggler role eventually went to Mark Wahlberg.
He is an environmental conservationist and often advocates and supports natural causes.
Considered for the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Spider-Man (2002).
Filed police charges after being attacked with a bottle by a Canadian ex-model while leaving a private party in June 2005. Although the wound was very close to his jugular vein, it was not expected to delay production on his latest movie.
He can speak a little German.
Was originally cast in The Good Shepherd (2006).
He once said that playing Arnie in What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993) was "the most fun I've ever had".
Appeared in the television series "Parenthood" (1990), in the role originally played by Joaquin Phoenix. In the original film, Phoenix's grandfather is played by Jason Robards, who, like DiCaprio, has played Howard Hughes.
He purchased a 104-acre island off the coast of Belize in 2005 and plans to develop a resort with renewable energy sources. Purchase price for the island, Blackadore Caye, was estimated to be $1.75 million.
In 2006 in "The Independent", he named his ten favorite movies as: Bicycle Thieves (1948), Taxi Driver (1976), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), 8½ (1963), The Third Man (1949), Yojimbo (1961), Sunset Blvd. (1950), The Shining (1980), and East of Eden (1955).
Was cast in the lead role in Baz Luhrmann's doomed Alexander The Great-project.
In his childhood, he and his mother lived in poor neighborhoods in Los Angeles which he describes as "Ghettos of Hollywood".
Early in his career he appeared as a contestant on a game show called "Fun House" where stunts were performed - his involved trying to catch fish in a small pool with only his teeth.
Martin Scorsese is his favorite director.
Named #36 on Empire Magazine's 100 Sexiest Movie Stars. (2007).
His German grandmother died at age 93 in August 2008.
His father, George DiCaprio, is of German and Italian descent and is an underground writer, editor, and distributor of comic books. His mother, Irmelin DiCaprio, is of German and Russian descent and a former legal secretary.
In 1994, he became the seventh youngest actor ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor at age 19. He was nominated for his performance in What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993).
Thanked by Blink 182 in the liner notes of their album "Enema of the State".
Ranked #8 on VH1's 40 Hottest Hotties of the '90s.
In May 2009, DiCaprio, along with Kate Winslet and director James Cameron, publicly pledged to support the financial future of the last living Titanic survivor, Millvina Dean, after it was reported that she had been forced to sell her mementos to pay for nursing home bills.
He stated in a Rolling Stone interview that in his younger years his mother took him to Germany about 10 times to visit his grandmother.
Purchased a unit in Manhattan's new, eco-friendly Riverhouse development in Battery Park, paying $3,665,700. Other real estate holdings include: A 1765-square-foot house on Carbon Beach in Malibu that he purchased in 1998 for $1.6 million. A 2633-square-foot house in the Malibu Colony that he purchased in 2002 for exactly $6 million. A 4551-square-foot house in the Bird Streets area of Los Angeles' Hollywood Hills that he bought in late 1999 for $2,515,000. A 3980-square-foot house in the Bird Streets area of Los Angeles' Hollywood Hills (next door to the one mentioned above) that he purchased in the summer of 2003 for $3,780,000. A two-bedroom, 2374-square-foot contemporary-style oceanfront house in Malibu, California that he paid $6.350 million for in 2007. And in Las Vegas, he spent $1.5 million for two adjacent two-bedroom units at Las Vegas's Panorama Towers in 2004. 
His favorite actress of all time is Meryl Streep.
Has been in a relationship with Bar Refaeli twice. They began a relationship in December 2005, but separated in October 2007. However, they later reconciled in December 2007, only to separate again in May 2011.
As a board member with World Wildlife Fund (WWF), he has traveled to such places as Bhutan, Nepal, and Russia.
While attempting to travel to St. Petersburg, Russia to attend the International Tiger Conservation Forum as a guest of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), but he was held up not once, but twice by flights. The first, Delta Flight 30, which departed from JFK bound for Moscow, was forced to make an emergency landing back at JFK shortly after takeoff due to engine flame out and malfunction, later his replacement flight had to make an unscheduled landing in Helsinki, Finland to refuel due to strong winds over the Atlantic ocean that used up the plane's fuel. Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin, who hosted the event, acknowledged that a lesser man, "could have read it as a sign - that it was not worth going," but instead Leo, who's late grandparents were Russian, made it to the summit and gained Putin's respect. The summit's aim is to double wild tiger populations worldwide from 3,500 to 7,000 by 2022. While in St. Petersburg, DiCaprio committed $1 million to WWF for urgent tiger conservation efforts through his Fund at the California Community Foundation. [November 2010]
Appeared twice on the cover of GQ magazine: December 2006 and December 2008.
Won the 2010 'Do Something' Award for his Haiti relief efforts and the television show "Greensburg".
Has worked with numerous acclaimed directors: Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Ridley Scott, James Cameron, Christopher Nolan, Sam Mendes, Danny Boyle, Baz Luhrmann, Lasse Hallström, Sam Raimi, and Edward Zwick.
Kate Winslet considers him the best actor of his generation.
Celebrated his 37th birthday at New York City Hotspot Avenue, which he rented out. Guests included pals Russell Simmons and Bradley Cooper and his mother Irmelin. The party raised money for DiCaprio's various wildlife protection projects and disaster relief for Haiti. (November 2011).
Owns a production company - Appian Way Productions.
His movie J. Edgar (2011) was released in cinemas in the US and Canada on his thirty-seventh birthday.
His relationship with Gisele Bündchen ended after three years [November 2005].
The best thing about acting is that I get to lose myself in another character and actually get paid for it. It's a great outlet. As for myself, I'm not sure who I am. It seems that I change every day.
People want you to be a crazy, out-of-control teen brat. They want you miserable, just like them. They don't want heroes; what they want is to see you fall.
You can either be a vain movie star, or you can try to shed some light on different aspects of the human condition.
It's a really obvious thing to say, but the more people know too much about who you really are, and it's a fundamental thing, the more the mystery is taken away from the artist, and the harder it is for people to believe that person in a particular role.
On fame: "As soon as enough people give you enough compliments and you're wielding more power than you've ever had in your life, it's not that you become an arrogant little prick, or become rude to people ... but you get a false sense of your own importance and what you've accomplished. You actually think you've altered the course of history."
I don't really have many extravagances. I don't fly private jets and I don't have bodyguards and I don't buy crazy things. I have a couple of houses here and there. I bought a very expensive watch, and I am going to buy a really expensive movie poster, the original for The Thief of Bagdad (1940). I love movie posters.
On turning 30: "I kind of feel like the same person except more time has gone by. I hate to say that I feel like an adult now. I have to admit I wish I was still 18. After all, even through the time while I was representing that wild kid, I really wasn't. I was just living my life. I was just not making movies at the time."
On Martin Scorsese: "Martin has brought so much to the art form of film, and he is not the type of person who would be upset by not receiving an Oscar, although it is a practical joke that he has not won an Academy Award after all these years. Whatever opinions critics will have of The Aviator (2004), I really think that this is a great piece of art: once again, he has made a great classic film."
The great thing about turning 30 in this business is that you get to perpetuate being young or old as long as we want.
On whether there are any aspects of fame he dislikes: "You kidding? I feel very fortunate. A lot of people would love to be in my position. There are so many people out there who are suffering trillions of times more than I could ever suffer, and would love to be me. I am a lucky little bastard."
Yes, I can play younger than my age. But I can play characters older than I am, too. I'm not an actor who can just play the kid.
I think people read the tabloids because they want to see you eating a burger, or out of your makeup or doing something stupid because they just want to see that you're like everyone else. And that's OK. I don't want to catch myself anymore saying that my life is hard, because the good far outweighs the bad in my life. And it's easier to focus on those things, on the things that are important.
You learn after you've been in the business for a while that it's not getting your face recognized that's the payoff. It's having your film remembered.
I lived in Hollywood and, ironically, I didn't know you could just go out and get an agent and go on auditions and try and become an actor, I thought it was like a Masonic thing, like a blood line you had to belong to - until I was 13. Then I realised what you had to do. It is the one thing I know I want to do for the rest of my life.
"I wasn't surprised that Jamie got the award. But I knew that cameras would be stuffed up my face so I had my response ready. Anyone who says they don't practice is a liar." -on losing out on the Oscar to Jamie Foxx during the 2005 Academy Awards.
"I was behind a woman at the checkout counter who was looking at the magazines. She turned to me and goes, 'There he is again, that Leonardo DiCaprio. Don't you wish he'd just disappear?' I said (to myself), this is the moment where I either go, 'Do you know who I am?' or put my hat further down, pay for my corn-nuts and get out of there....I choose to avoid that." (2005)
My first date was with a girl named Cessi. We'd had a beautiful relationship over the phone all summer long. Then she came home and we met to go out for the first time to the movies. When I saw her I was petrified. I couldn't even look her in the eye to talk to her.
I don't know if I'm ever getting married. I'm probably not going to get married unless I live with somebody for 10 or 20 years. But these people took a chance and they did it. We don't have the guts that Romeo did.
As a little kid growing up in Hollywood, I was called 'a little crazy'. And now I guess I'm still that way.
I cheated a lot, because I just couldn't sit and do homework. I usually sat next to someone extremely smart.
I like to help the whales, the otters, and the dolphins. When I'm acting and I take a break, the first thing on my list is spending time by the sea.
My mom and I lived at Hollywood and Western, a drug-dealer and prostitute corner. It was pretty terrifying. I got beat up a lot. I saw people have sex in the alleys. I remember I was 5 years old, and this guy with a trench coat, needles and crack cornered me. Early on, seeing the devastation on my block, seeing heroin addicts, made me think twice about ever getting involved in drugs. It's evil. Once you take that step and experiment, drugs can take over your life. You are not yourself anymore. That's something I never wanted. I didn't have a lot of friends growing up. It was kind of just me and my parents. But because of them, the neighborhood did not have a bad effect on me. My dad introduced me to artists, and every few months we'd go to some hippie doo-dah parade as Mudmen in our underwear, carrying sticks and covered in mud. My mother did everything to get me into the best schools she could find.
When a role for a young guy is being offered to me, I think of River Phoenix. It feels like a loss.
When I was young, I used to have this thing where I wanted to see everything. I used to think, 'How can I die without seeing every inch of this world?'
On his life: "What I would do in order to be popular was, I'd put myself on line and joke around and be funny, and I was always known as the crazy kid."
Bridget Hall and I hung out for a week. The whole thing was blown out of proportion.
I don't have the guts that Romeo did. [on marriage]
On love: I like girls who are intelligent, somewhat funny, and pretty with a nice personality.
It's a weird adjustment living alone, because you don't realize how much you really miss Mumsie until she's not there.
Dark green is my favorite color. It's the color of nature and the color of money and the color of moss!
I'm not really the quiet type, although some people think I am. But I'm the rebel type in the sense that I don't think I'm like everyone else. I try to be an individual.
I'm absolutely clean. I've never tried anything. That's not a lie!
I'm not the sort of person who tries to be cool or trendy. I'm definitely an individual.
I don't have emotions about a lot of things. I rarely get angry, I rarely cry. I guess I do get excited a lot, but I don't get sad and enormously happy. I think a lot of people who talk about all that crap are lying. Right now I'm just trying to maintain happiness - that's all I really care about. Anyway, when you're my age and your hormones are kicking in, there's not much besides sex that's on your mind.
I hate speaking in front of a large audience. I don't know where it came from...but its just this gut-wrenching fear of slipping up and doing something horrible.
One of my passions is to meet people and then imitate them. I love doing that.
I have the same problem as Edward Furlong. I'm so thin!
I'm nothing like Romeo in real life.
I'm shy, but when the time comes to be wild, I'm fun-loving, adventurous, and mysterious.
It's tricky stuff. If you're not perfect in every film, then people say 'see, he was just lucky in one role'.
On his career: "I admit I've done a few lousy roles in the beginning of my career, like my role in Critters 3 (1991). But at that age, you'll do anything for attention!"
People want you to be a crazy out-of-control teen brat. They want you to be miserable, just like them. They don't want heroes. What they want is to see you fall.
Everywhere I go, somebody is staring at me. I don't know if people are staring because they recognize me or because they think I'm a weirdo.
On rumors: I've heard some pretty bad rumors...that I'm gay. If I want to go to a party with a few male friends, it doesn't mean that I'm gay. I don't see why I can't have friends of both sexes without rumors being spread about me. It's crazy.
People always like to make up stories. I am not planning on getting married. Then again, I might wake up tomorrow and decide to get married!
If you hear of any incident about me - a fight, a change of clothes, a little extra gel in the hair, don't believe it till you talk to me.
I hate being selected as 'Babe of the Month' and being called 'hunk'.
Fame is not the worst thing. I went to dinner the other night, and the girls in the restaurant ignored me. It was so annoying.
I insist on keeping a level head. I've maintained the same exact home life that I've had for 20 years. All I see is more people looking at me than before. But, you know, who cares? You just can't obsess yourself with this fame stuff.
My God, no! I hate this whole hunk thing! I feel when I see myself in that, and these other cute faces, that I'm just part of this meat factory, like, 'Wow! Here's the hunk of the month! This month we're shoving Leonardo DiCaprio down your throat! Isn't he cute. Let's put him on the cover and we'll sell so many more magazines...' That's definitely not what I want to be, and I've tried real hard to get away from that whole situation.
If you can do what you do best and be happy, you're further along in life than most people.
The main thing for me right now is just to live my life with my family and friends. They treat me like Leo, not 'Leonardo, Master Thespian'. That's all I need to keep my sanity.
The last thing I want to turn into is a fat Hollywood jerk. I was brought up without much money and I was happy. I don't think that I will strive for money or success and end up greedy or big-headed. That only leads to unhappiness. I can still be down-to-earth and do this job as long as I enjoy it.
On success: "I've just been jolting along from one film to another. . . . Now, it's sort of a shock to realize what I've achieved."
Portraying emotionally ill characters gives me the chance to really act.
I'm just starting to scratch the surface of what makes me happy, and it has taken me a while to admit that acting like a child and a jerk is fun.
On acting: "Don't think for a moment that I'm really like any of the characters I play. That's why it's called acting."
It was pretty disheartening to be objectified like that. I wanted to stop acting for a little bit. But it changed my life in a lot of ways, but at the same time, I can't say that it didn't give me opportunities. It made me, for the first time, in control of my career. - On Titanic (1997).
A consensus has emerged in our scientific community that global warming is no longer merely a theory but a reality, a crisis with truly global implications for planet Earth and all of us who share it. - Told to thousands at the New Jersey concert for Live Earth.
On working with Jack Nicholson on The Departed (2006): One table scene in particular, I remember coming in, we did it one way, and I remember Jack speaking to Marty (Martin Scorsese), saying that he didn't feel he was intimidating enough. And then, the next day we came in and the prop guy told me, 'Be careful, he's got a fire extinguisher, a gun, some matches, and a bottle of whisky!'
In this business nothing is as dangerous and as feared as loneliness. You shoot films in the most remote areas of the world; you're separated from your family and your friends. And at some point you're in your hotel room looking at yourself in the mirror and you realize how lonely you are and how far you are from leading a normal life. That is quite a punch in the gut.
I respect Russian culture and Russian cinema, especially Eisenstein, (Andrei) Tarkovsky, and Sergei Parajanov.
I was 18 when I got to work with Meryl Streep. I remember going over my lines with her off-camera, looking at her and thinking to myself, 'What is going on here? How is this going to look good?' Then when I sat in the theater, it was, 'Oh, my God, she's the only person who looks completely natural'. Meryl may be the greatest actor in the world.
[on filming one scene in The Departed (2006) with Jack Nicholson where the veteran actor wanted to take a few extra steps to make sure Leo seemed "sincerely threatened"] - I come on the set the next day and hear we're doing the scene over for lighting reasons. But then a prop guy comes over to me and says, 'Just to let you know, there were some props Jack asked for. I had to get him a fire extinguisher, a bottle of whiskey, a lighter, and a gun'.
Out of any actor, I can't think of anyone who's got more memorable moments in cinema than Jack Nicholson. Jack never takes a single line straight on. Never takes an emotion written in the script at face value. He brings terror into what you thought was supposed to be a light moment and makes a light moment out of a cutthroat vicious line. He flips everything on its side.
[on not being comfortable with fame] - Just because you've done a good performance once, doesn't mean you're always going to be good. That's why some of the greatest actors in the world have gone a little bit nuts. They're saying to themselves, 'What happened? You used to love me?' It's an easy trap to fall into. You just have to realize that when you're hot, you're hot, and when you're not, you're not.
[on Martin Scorsese] - If you'd asked me, at 16, the director I wanted to work with, it would have been Marty. Marty's not afraid to sit there for days on end just to get a scene right. Most important, I trust him, which makes my job as an actor a lot easier.
[on working on Shutter Island (2010)] - ... we explored what the mentally ill had to face in the days when mental hospitals were called insane asylums. It was really very traumatic, and I don't say that about a film very often. I went to places and unearthed some things that I didn't think I was capable of. It was like an emotional layer cake that just kept getting deeper and deeper.
[on proving himself] - Probably the only thing I knew with complete clarity was that I wanted to be an actor. But there was a lot of rejection early on, and so it never felt like, Hey, I've got something here. There was always an element of me that needed to prove something to myself. It's something I don't want to get rid of, because it's what drives me. I'm never settled and I'm never satisfied.
[on the nude scene in Revolutionary Road (2008)] - Kate Winslet is one of my dearest friends. We have the ultimate trust in each other and the best of intentions for what we want to do. I knew Kate before Sam Mendes [her husband] even met her. So on the outside, it may seem strange to do a sex scene with a woman while her husband is directing. But it didn't feel that way to me. When the scene was about to start, Kate said, in front of the crew, "Wait, wait, this is totally weird". She turned to both Sam and I and said, "Are you guys okay?" We both looked at each other and said, Yeah, we're totally fine. She said, "It's even weirder that you're both totally fine".
[on Scorsese versus Spielberg] - The only other person who knows as much about film as Martin Scorsese is Steven Spielberg.... People would always ask me, What are the differences between Spielberg and Scorsese? All I could find myself talking about was the similarities.
[on risks and really growing up] - What you risk just to have thrills when you're in your twenties is absurd. It's all part of that process of doing things that are daring to be accepted by your peers - and it's absolutely insane. You can enter a never-ending vapid hole trying to catch the next exciting moment without ever stopping to appreciate it. It can be a never-ending process of chasing something that isn't there. I know it's a cliché, but I'm happy to be alive. I went skydiving and my chutes didn't open. Two of them.
[on growing up] - The earliest memories I have are jumping up onstage before concerts in downtown L. A. and trying to get on the mic and break-dance, or do imitations of my mother's friends or my father's friends, or be a comic in class. I was the most insane child you can imagine, pretty intolerable to be around. High-octane energy all the time, never wanting to focus on schoolwork.
[on fame after Titanic (1997)] - It wasn't the era of penetrating Internet paparazzi that we have now. But my name wasn't me anymore. I was sort of this thing. Kate felt it, too. But a lot of the attention was on me because of the teenage girls who repeatedly went to see the movie. I had the blond hair, and I was Jack Dawson, this heroic figure. So I set up everything in my personal life to rebel against that image in order to strip it down. I had a lot of fun stripping it down. But ultimately, that knocked me a few rungs down the ladder.
[on James Cameron] - Jim knows exactly what he wants. Needless to say, when somebody felt a different way on the set of Titanic (1997), there was a confrontation. Jim had it out with them right there in front of everybody. He lets you know exactly how he feels. But he's of the lineage of John Ford. He knows what he wants his film to be. I remember sitting in a theater after it was done and being in awe. He got what he wanted.
[on the night River Phoenix died] - When I was eighteen, River Phoenix was far and away my hero. Think of all those early great performances - My Own Private Idaho (1991). Stand by Me (1986). I always wanted to meet him. One night, I was at this Halloween party, and he passed me. He was beyond pale - he looked white. Before I got a chance to say hello, he was gone, driving off to the Viper Room, where he fell over and died. That's a lesson.
[on what surprised him about Shutter Island (2010)] The thing that surprised me the most about this material is as many different genres that are mixed in, whatever Martin Scorsese did stylistically with this film, at it's very essence it is a film about the human condition and human trauma and the dark side of who we are.
[on his influence in Hollywood and producing] I am never going to act again, yeah (laughs). No, I have a production company that all stemmed from 10 years ago wanting to be able to develop my own material because I just wasn't finding things I got excited about. It all stemmed from "Gangs of New York" and searching that out and saying, 'Well, if I was able to search this out and I got to be able to work with Martin Scorsese on this project, there has got to be other projects out there that maybe the studios aren't paying attention to.
[on being one of the industry's top earners and his thoughts on salaries given to A-list actors] Yes, I think it is absolutely justified. ... A lot of actors draw in a certain audience, it's the truth. You put Brad Pitt or George Clooney or Johnny Depp or all these guys who are able to finance movies because of their name. With somebody else it wouldn't possibly get the same attention ... People who are able to bring in a certain audience deserve to get paid for that not just the studios.
[on if Shutter Island (2010) gave him any nightmares] - I never had nightmares. ... It took me back to the one time I really remembered my dreams because I usually don't. But when I used a nicotine patch when I was trying to quit smoking, I did have bloodcurdling nightmares of mass murders, and I woke up in the middle of the night and had to take the patches off. I guess I had moments like that in the film.
[2010 - On relaxing outside films] "I go out and have a drink every once in a while. Ooh, I know that's controversial, isn't it? I sometimes go on a vacation, too. I take what I do very seriously, and when I'm on the set that's all I focus on, so my vice is to hang out with my friends and talk about absolutely nothing of importance whatsoever and act like a complete idiot because I've got to filter out a lot of the serious stuff I'm dealing with all the time. It's like therapy to just be a complete idiot with my friends and it's fantastic.
[on making Shutter Island (2010)] Usually when I'm on a movie set, I'm able to detach myself from the process at the end of the day and go home and learn my lines for the next day, but this situation was a whole lot different. There were a couple of weeks when I was in a hole and it was the deepest I've ever gone with a character, emotionally.
[on making Inception (2010) and director Christopher Nolan] I don't know what I'm supposed to say about it, but it's Chris Nolan delving into dream psychoanalysis and also making a high octane, action-filled, surreal film that is all spawned from his mind. He wrote the entire thing, and it all made sense to him. It didn't make much sense to us when we were doing it, and we had to do a ton of detective work to try to figure out what the movie was and what we were doing from day to day, but, thank God, we had somebody who knew what he was doing.
(2010) These last couple of films have taken a lot out of me so I don't know what I'm going to do next. I have no idea and it's kind of a cool place to be. This year is going to be the year of really taking care of myself because I've reached 35 and I've taken a lot of things seriously, maybe too seriously at times, so I'm going to make sure that whatever I do next and whatever choices I make are really right for me. And we'll see where that takes me.
[on filming in Mozambique for Blood Diamond (2006)] Forget weather-wise. Condition-wise, there are a lot of hardships for the people that live in Mozambique, and there's a lot of situations going on with poverty and AIDS and unsanitary water. You name it. But the most intriguing thing I found about shooting in Mozambique was the triumph and adaptability of the human spirit: People were still filled with so much joy. They were literally dancing in the streets every night. It was an amazing thing to see.
(2010) I want to be an actor just like my role models. Robert De Niro, for example. Being discreet in his private life has allowed him to be even more credible in different roles on the big screen.
[on his post-"Titanic" romantic life] - I had better success meeting girls before Titanic (1997). My interactions with them didn't have all the stigma behind it, not to mention there wasn't a perception of her talking to me for only one reason.
[on how he dealt with post-"Titanic" youth] I got to be wild and nuts, and I didn't suffer as much as people do now, where they have to play it so safe that they ruin their credibility. I didn't care what anyone thought. It was also about avoiding the tornado of chaos, of potential downfall. My two main competitors in the beginning, the blond-haired kids I went to audition with, one hung himself and the other died of a heroin overdose... I was never into drugs at all. There aren't stories of me in a pool of my own vomit in a hotel room on the Hollywood Strip.
During Gilbert Grape I didn't know where I was gonna go as an actor so I didn't know what types of movies I wanted to do. I just felt like doing a movie is doing a movie. I get money and fame, and that's great, and I can act and have fun. And I was up for a movie called Hocus Pocus with Bette Midler, and I knew it was awful, but it was just like, 'Okay, they're offering me more and more money. Isn't that what you do? You do movies and you get more and more money.' But something inside of me kept saying, 'Don't do this movie.' And everyone around me was saying, 'Leonardo, how could you not take a movie?' And I said to myself, 'Okay, I'll audition for this movie Gilbert Grape. If I don't get that, I'll do Hocus Pocus.' I found myself trying so hard, investing so much time and energy in Gilbert Grape, I worked so damn hard at it and I finally got it, and it was like such a weight off my shoulders.
(On landing This Boy's Life (1993)) When I was fifteen, I got this amazing opportunity to audition for this plum role opposite Robert De Niro and Ellen Barkin in "This Boy's Life". Before that, it was The New Lassie or a Bubble Yum commercial. They were using the mustard-jar scene in the audition. De Niro was going up to the kids with this almost empty mustard jar and cramming it into their faces, really pushing the kids' buttons. The scene was being used to see if the kid could stand up to De Niro, and it was hard not to be overwhelmed. When he started bludgeoning me, I completely overcompensated. He said, "Is this empty? Is this empty?" I slapped the jar out of his hand, got right up in his face, and screamed at the top of my lungs, "Noooooooo!" It was the most god-awful way to do the scene. I was supposed to be the victim, not the antagonizer, and there was complete silence. De Niro looks at me and goes, "Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh", in that way only De Niro can laugh. "That was good. That was goooood. I like that. A little over-the-top but good". My audition was supposed to go on, but they just stopped it. Even though De Niro said he liked it, I left the room thinking, Oh, shit, I'm a laughingstock. I'm buried. I'm done. Getting that part felt like winning the lottery. Sometimes you've got to go to the wrong place just to show that you're not afraid to go there.
(2010) Probably the only thing I knew with complete clarity was that I wanted to be an actor. But there was a lot of rejection early on, and so it never felt like, Hey, I've got something here. There was always an element of me that needed to prove something to myself. It's something I don't want to get rid of, because it's what drives me. I'm never settled and I'm never satisfied.
(2010) I was the most insane child you can imagine, pretty intolerable to be around. High-octane energy all the time, never wanting to focus on schoolwork.
[on playing "Jack Dawson" in Titanic (1997)] I'm not haunted by it but it certainly follows me. I've been to the Amazon and people with no clothes on - and I'm not exaggerating - know about that film. I've accepted it.
When I can't immediately define the character and there's an element of mystery to it and still a lot to be explored, that's when I say yes. I like those kinds of complicated characters.
There are a lot of pitfalls to success, and one is not listening to criticism. One of the the most important things you can do is hear criticism of yourself and embrace it, whether it be - in my case - artistic or personal.
[on what drew him to portraying Jay Gatsby] The idea of a man who came from absolutely nothing, who created himself solely from his own imagination. Gatsby's one of those iconic characters because he can be interpreted in so many ways: a hopeless romantic, a completely obsessed wacko or a dangerous gangster, clinging to wealth.
[on playing the plantation owner in Django Unchained (2012)] There was absolutely nothing about this man that I could identify with. I hated him. It was one of the most narcissistic, self-indulgent, racist, horrible characters I've ever read in my entire life.
You learn, after you've been in the business for a while, that fame is empty and pointless.
|The Basketball Diaries (1995)||$1,000,000|
|The Beach (2000/I)||$20,000,000|
|Gangs of New York (2002)||$10,000,000 + Gross Points|
|Catch Me If You Can (2002)||$20,000,000|
|The Aviator (2004)||$20,000,000|
|The Departed (2006)||$20,000,000|
|Blood Diamond (2006)||$20,000,000|
|Inception (2010)||$59,000,000 (includes salary and all back end points off worldwide gross + share of DVD and pay-TV revenue)|
|J. Edgar (2011)||$2,000,000|
(March 2006) Currently shooting the movie Blood Diamond (2006) in South Africa.
(January 2003) Attended the international premiere's for Catch Me If You Can (2002) in Paris, France (Jan. 28th) and London, England (Jan. 27th).
(January 2005) Attended the international premieres for The Aviator (2004) in Madrid, Spain (Jan. 11th) Paris, France (Jan. 6th) and Rome, Italy (Jan. 4th).
(June 2006) Attended the 2006 French Open in Paris, France on June 9th.
(October 2006) Attended the 1st Annual Rome Film Festival in Italy on Oct. 15th.
(January 2007) Attended The Departed (2006) premiere in Tokyo, Japan on Jan. 19th.
(January 2007) Attended the Blood Diamond (2006) movie premieres in Madrid, Spain (Jan 26th) and London, England (Jan. 23rd).
(May 2007) Attended the 2007 Cannes Film Festival in France.
(November 2008) Attended the Body of Lies (2008) Rome, Italy Premiere on Nov. 4th.
(January 2009) Attended the London premiere of Revolutionary Road (2008) on Jan. 19th.
(February 2009) Attended the The 59th Berlin International Film Festival on Feb. 9th.
(July 2010) Attended the Inception Tokyo Premiere in Japan.
(November 2010) American representative at Tiger Conservation Efforts At Russia Summit. Donated $1.000.000 to preservation of Asian Tiger.
(November 2010) Met with the Russian leader Putin in St. Petersburg, Russia
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