Photo Credit: Esquire
While Titanic, the former all-time box office champ (now surpassed by Avatar), launched Leonardo DiCaprio into superstardom nearly 13 years ago, the actor admits in the March issue of Esquire that the blockbuster made him feel like a "thing" and that his "name wasn't (his) anymore."
Now, DiCaprio, 35, is promoting his latest effort: Shutter Island, a thriller which marks his fourth time working with legendary director Martin Scorsese. In the new interview, which hits newsstands Feb. 16, the Oscar nominee opens up about James Cameron, Kate Winslet and the 1997 juggernaut that turned into an international frenzy.
"A lot of the attention was on me because of the teenage girls who repeatedly went to see the movie," DiCaprio says in the cover story, "I had the blond hair, and I was Jack Dawson, this heroic figure... 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."
DiCaprio also says costar Kate Winslet, now 34, "felt it, too," regarding the mania surrounding Titanic. DiCaprio calls Winslet "one of my dearest friends. We have the ultimate trust in each other and the best of intentions for what we want to do." That trust came in handy when the two filmed 2008's harrowing drama Revolutionary Road (directed by Winslet's husband, Sam Mendes). The film called for an intense sex scene between the actors. "On the outside, it may seem strange to do a sex scene with a woman while her husband is directing," DiCaprio confesses. "But it didn't feel that way to me."
But did DiCaprio and Winslet have the same effortless experience on Titanic? DiCaprio opens up about the notoriously difficult 54-year-old James Cameron: "Jim knows exactly what he wants. Needless to say, when somebody felt a different way on the set of Titanic, there was a confrontation." DiCaprio adds, "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."
DiCaprio also talks about Meryl Streep ("She's the only person who looks completely natural....Meryl may be the greatest actor in the world"), and a chance encounter with the late River Phoenix, who passed away at just 23 ("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.").
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