HOLLYWOOD – As I approach Leonardo Di Caprio‘s door I can hear a voice coming from within. I don’t ring the bell straight away. I lean close and hear clearly a voice shouting, ‘It puts the lotion in the basket or it gets the hose again.’ I smile.
Leo, Leo. Up to your old tricks again.
And I ring the bell.
Di Caprio looks startled to see me, but his face breaks into a huge fixed grin. He’s wearing the rubber apron he often wears at home. ‘Oh, hi,’ he says. ‘We’re supposed to be having breakfast, right?’
So Leo, The Great Gatsby?
I love the book. I loved the character. I thought this film needs a visionary director who knows how to handle moral ambiguity and nuance, as well as provide the screen with a sumptuous visual spectacle. Unfortunately, Marty was busy so we got lumbered with Baz Luhrmann!
But surely Luhrmann’s a fine director!?
That’s what I thought but just before we started filming I saw Australia, not the country, the film. What a piece of shit. Again, not the country, the film.
It wasn’t his finest…
It was dog shit is what it was. Yikes! Do you like the dolphin pâté?
Is that what it is? It’s mmm. I didn’t think you’d eat dolphin pâté.
What? You think I’m too cheap. Only the best for the Sternburger.
No. Because of your environmental beliefs.
Oh those. Nah. I don’t bother with those any more. I watched an episode of Jersey Shore once and I thought, fuck the planet and fuck everything. Plus dolphins might be highly intelligent animals but they’re also delicious.
And next up Django Unchained. Was it difficult for you to play the villain?
(Laughs freakishly for ten full minutes) Yes. I suppose. Yes. It was. Really (laughing) difficult. Uh huh.
You have become the most consistently interesting American actor of your generation. How?
I’d say it’s always down to my choice of the material and the director. Each one has his different style and you have to adapt to that style but at the same time remain true to your own performance. So Quentin is very verbal and he wants a certain largeness. Marty is into the character. Eastwood on J. Edgar just spent all his time talking like off to one side and I realised he was actually giving his instructions to the set.
And what about Baz Luhrmann?
But Di Caprio begins again with the disconcerting laughing. As I leave I he’s tightening his apron and putting on what look like night vision goggles. He waves a cleaver at me as he opens the cellar door. No doubt he is researching a character. What a pro!