On November 11, 1974, a star was born. Leonardo Dicaprio is not just a hard-working activist to admire but also one of the best actors of his generation. To commemorate his 46 years we will tell you why. Happy birthday, Leo!
From Critters 3 to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the American actor has been Oscar nominated 5 times for his roles and, as we all know, he won the award for The Revenant. His effort, improvisation and passion has made people all around the world appreciate and respect him. Like it or not, his talent is unmatched. For this reason, here are five times Leo showed us why he is one of the best actors of his generation.
Django Unchained (2012)
In this Tarantino film, Dicaprio plays a slave owner that does it for fun in early 1858 in Texas. The actor admits that it has been the most disgusting, narcissist, self-indulgent, racist and despicable character he has ever played in his entire life. “The first day on set was incredibly difficult for me”, he says in an interview for Fox Channel.
Despite it, DiCaprio made a colossal impression. In a scene full of strong emotions, he broke a glass, breaking his own hand. As a good artist, this served to give more truth to the matter and contributed towards the scene. And if that was enough, he spilled loads of blood over the table (which was edited in post-production; Tarantino removing blood, never seen before). Leo used the blood of his cracked hand to spread it to Broomhilda von Shaft (Kerry Washington) all over the face, which gave more cruelty and truth to the scene.
Read in What Culture, this wasn’t the only Django-related injury that DiCaprio acquired. During rehearsal for that scene, the hammer he was threatening Kerry Washington’s Broomhilda with broke and hit him on the head. To avoid this happening again during filming, DiCaprio used a foam hammer.
What’s eating Gilbert Grape? (1993)
Thanks to the director, Lasse Hallström, this is the first time we see Leonardo Dicaprio shine. The actor was only 18 years old when he played Arnie, a mentally-disabled teenager. Arnie’s big brother, Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp), takes care of him while attempting to pursue his own happiness.
In this movie, Leo did such an amazing and trustworthy performance that when Paramount Pictures organised the premiere and the population met him, some people didn’t understand how he overcame his ‘disability’. His ability to immerse himself in the character with so little experience is inexplicable, you can see that Dicaprio was born with an innate talent. For me, it is his best role to date.
After captivating hundreds of spectators, the actor was nominated for his first Oscar as best actor in a supporting role. Johnny Depp, who used to torture Leo during those years, now admits his admiration: “He worked really, really hard on that film and spent a lot of time researching. I was wrong, it was kind of a dark period for me”, said Depp at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2016.
The Revenant (2015)
The Oscar victory finally came with this Alejandro Iñárritu film. Set in 1823, it tells the story of Hugh Glass, an American frontiersman, fur trapper, trader, hunter, and explorer who is best known for his story of survival and forgiveness after being left for dead by companions when he was mauled by a grizzly bear.
The movie was shot over 9 months in extreme conditions and using natural light so it could only be filmed an hour and a half per day, which made the actors a bit stressed. Because of this, crew members often complained about difficult shoots, with many quitting or being fired. In Leo’s words, “I can name 30 or 40 sequences that were some of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do, whether it’s going in and out of frozen rivers, falling off of cliffs, going down frozen roar roaring rapids or sleeping in animal carcasses or what I ate on set”.
Remember that part of the film when Leonardo Dicaprio eats pieces of a dead animal? In fact, he ate a real raw bison liver. The actor admits that the prop department did indeed build a faux bison liver from jelly but, concerned that the fake did not look genuine, volunteered to eat an actual bison liver. “The bad part is the membrane around it. . . . It’s like a balloon. When you bite into it, it bursts in your mouth”, he tells. Ultimately, the actor did fall ill, but due to the hypothermia-caliber weather conditions rather than the liver. “I got the flu quite a few times”, DiCaprio says.
Although it is the film with the least dialogue that DiCaprio has acted in, he learnt an old tribal language to communicate with the Arikaras. For this and a thousand other things, he won his coveted Oscar award. Congrats, Leo!
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
We all thought this Scoserse movie was the chosen one for DiCaprio’s Oscar, right? Although the Academy did not think so, his performance in this film made new spectators love him. We are used to seeing DiCaprio in drama pieces, but this one had some comedy. This way, we could see the calm Leo, the euphoric one, even the crazy one.
His power of improvisations makes any film much better. For this one, he saw Matthew McConaughey (Mark Hanna in the film) doing the now famous humming scene while beating his chest. It is something that the Interstellar actor does frequently for preparing scenes. Thus, they both thought it would be a great idea to put it in the scene. At the moment, it is one of the best scenes of the decade.
Remember the scene where DiCaprio (who played Jordan Belfort) tries to get into his car on quaaludes? Most of it was improvised as well, at least the funniest part. Leo had an idea to open the car with his foot – throwing out his back in the process – and was only able to do just the one take. The idea was worth it though!
Another scene where Jordan is on quaaludes allegedly took 70 takes. Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) is dying of drowning. Consequently, Jordan tries to save his life getting on top of him and practising first aid. The thing is that it took 70 times to get the correct scene because the ham would not stick to DiCaprio’s face. They ended up flicking the ham off the spoon and using some KY jelly to make it sticky enough.
Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Based on a true story, this Spielberg movie tells the life of Frank Abagnale, a real forger who pretended to be a pilot, lawyer and doctor while stealing 2.5 million of dollars.
It took 22 years for the book to be turned into a movie. Thankfully, Leonardo read the book and was a huge fan of it. For this reason, he contacted Spielberg and talked about the story. “I feel that Leo hired me more than I hired me”, the director says.
Although the Jurassic park director didn’t want Leo to, the actor found and met Frank Abagnale. The ex-convict stayed at Dicaprio’s house for three days, whilst the actor followed him everywhere around with a recorder and a notebook. In this way, his acting on the screen shows a number of gestures similar to the real Frank, as well as wonderful scenes going from the main character’s capacity for charm to the deep loneliness that resided in him. Personally, this is the perfect movie to watch during Christmas and also, one of my favourite ones.
A random fact, the cast shot in more than 140 locations in just 52 days and Leo had 100 wardrobe changes.
What is your favourite Leonardo DiCaprio movie of all time? Have a lovely week!
Don’t forget to check out these articles:
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- 13 Books That Are Better Than Their Film or TV Adaptation
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