It is well known how much Leonardo DiCaprio made a concerted effort not to fall prey, or become simply known, as a teen idol. In the wake of the “Titanic” aftershock, DiCaprio threw the media – and his teeny bopper fans – for a loop. He disappeared from the award accolades heaped on “Titanic” (as it rose to become the highest grossing film of all time), he turned down movie roles, and he struggled to make his claim for what he really is: an actor, not a celebrity – and certainly not a momentary 90s heartthrob. Simply, he did not want to become Freddie Prinze Jr. Leave it to Martin Scorsese to make sure of that.
Leo got his start on television as a teenager, particularly in the final days of the sitcom “Growing Pains.” When he transitioned to the big screen, he was alongside the heavy hitters in no time – no less than De Niro in “This Boy’s Life” in 1993. He earned his first of three Oscar nods the same year with “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.” The next couple of years saw Leo DiCaprio build an impressive resume for a young actor – from “The Basketball Diaries” to Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo + Juliet,” and as the son of Meryl Streep in “Marvin’s Room.” But “Titanic” in 1997 not only rocked Leo’s boat, it rocked the world. Its success threatened to capsize DiCaprio’s own respectable acting reputation, and his careful choices of ensuing movies cemented his desire to pursue quality acting if alienating his teen fan base. He’s a hotheaded movie star in Woody Allen’s “Celebrity,” a role worlds apart from Jack in “Titanic.”
The subsequent decade following “Titanic” has established Leonardo DiCaprio as one of his generation’s greatest actors; and his frequent collaboration with master director Martin Scorsese proves it. He’s been Scorsese’s man for three straight pictures – “Gangs of New York,” “The Aviator” (hailed as one of the best films of the decade and earning Leo his second Oscar nomination), and “The Departed,” which finally won Scorsese his own long-sought Academy Award. Leo is now producing his own work while using his celebrity status to promote environmental awareness. If his output remains as consistent as it has in the 1990s and 2000s, he will have an immense body of work – and an amazing list of collaborators to go with it. From Scorsese to Spielberg, De Niro to Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio brings out the best the movie industry has to offer – while continuously challenging himself.
Leo on the Web
Standard Leonardo DiCaprio starting point.
TV Guide: Leonardo DiCaprio
Up-to-date news, bio, and photos of the star.
Leo’s official website.
Leo’s eco site with special attention on his documentary “The 11th Hour.”
Anything you ever wanted to know about Leo is here.
Jenn’s Romeo and Juliet Page
One of many teeny bopper Leo websites.
Database linking tons of DiCaprio interviews (through 2005).
Leo discusses his work with Scorsese and “The Departed.”
Leo on playing Frank Abagnale and teaming with Spielberg for “Catch Me If You Can.”
A post-“Titanic” interview with Leo on breaking out of the teen heartthrob roles.
Leo on the Screen
Leonardo DiCaprio grows up before our eyes. He’s Luke Bower for 22 episodes on “Growing Pains” from 1991-1992. You can also glimpse him as Guy in “Poison Ivy,” the cult Drew Barrymore flick. From there, he’s opposite heavyweights the rest of the way. He’s De Niro’s stepson in “This Boy’s Life,” brother to Johnny Depp in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” and Gene Hackman’s son in “The Quick and The Dead.” He’s the drug addict lead in “The Basketball Diaries” and as French poet Arthur Rimbaud in the little known “Total Eclipse.” “Romeo + Juliet” paved the way for “Titanic” in 1997. He’s Louis XIV in Randall Wallace’s “The Man in the Iron Mask,” has a memorable 10 minutes in Woody Allen’s underrated “Celebrity,” and there’s “The Beach” in 2000. What follows is a list of films sure to be classics: he’s chased by Tom Hanks in “Catch Me If You Can,” son of Liam Neeson and enemy of Daniel Day Lewis in Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York,” Howard Hughes in the sprawling “The Aviator,” and the rat in “The Departed,” where he has some memorable exchanges with Jack Nicholson. “Blood Diamond” earned Leo his third Oscar nomination – all by the age of 32.
Leo can currently be seen in Clint Eastwood's biopic of longtime FBI director J. Edgar Hoover will appear in two surefire award contenders in 2012: Baz Luhrmann's big screen adaptation of "The Great Gatsby" and Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained." Also rumored to be in the works is an adaptation of "Brave New World" with Ridley Scott, a 1930s noir film with Michael Mann, and a Frank Sinatra biopic for Martin Scorsese.
On his teen idol status:
“I hate this whole hunk thing!”
“To believe in love, to be ready to give up anything for it, to be willing to risk your life for it, is the ultimate tragedy.”
“School, I never truly got the knack of. I could never focus on things I didn't want to learn.”
On his recognition:
“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."