Leonardo DiCaprio: "No, I'm not afraid of madness"

Leonardo DiCaprio: “No, I’m not afraid of madness”

Arte will broadcast Aviator, by Martin Scorsese, followed by the documentary DiCaprio: Most Wanted this Monday.

Arte dedicates its evening to Leonardo DiCaprio. This Monday, the channel is planning not one, but two programs with the actor. To warm up, we start with Airman of Martin Scorsesebroadcast at 8:55 p.m., before continuing with DiCaprio: Most Wanted a documentary retracing his career, at 11:35 p.m. and already visible for free on the channel’s website.

But while waiting for this evening: back in 2005. Leonardo DiCaprio was then on the cover of the 335th issue of First for the release ofAirman, and a file was dedicated to the event film. In addition to an interview with Martin Scorsese, who explained what had attracted him to this Howard Hughes biopic, there was an interview with Leonardo DiCaprio, who himself had called on the filmmaker after working under his direction in Gangs of New York. Here is an excerpt, illustrated with beautiful photos from the film.

Martin Scorsese’s movies ranked from worst to best

Propose to Scorsese, well known for his fear of flying, to make a film called Airman, It needs to be done…
Yes, that’s what I found interesting! I think the movie only made his phobia worse! By offering him the script, I knew that there were themes that could touch him, like the golden age of Hollywood or this tragic figure that was Hughes, a typically Scorsese character. But I thought the aviation aspect would put him off. One day he said to me: “Send me the script anyway. I didn’t know anything about boxing and I did Raging Bull well!” I think he admires Hughes because he was fearless. He was both an incredible businessman who reigned over a real empire, but also a director, a producer, the Casanova of his time… At the same time, he was an adventurer who built prototypes of plane that he piloted himself, crashed with it, rebuilt others immediately, broke a new speed record, etc. He took enormous risks and yet he was terrified by doorknobs and germs…

Are you afraid of madness?
Hughes’ insanity was all the more scary as it was undiagnosed at the time. He couldn’t get treatment. We redid twenty-five times the take where I loop over Show me all the blueprints. I thought I was going to end up in a straitjacket! But no, I’m not afraid of madness.

And afraid of being alone in front of the camera? You do not have never carried so many scenes on your shoulders…
I love being alone with the character, internalizing everything. My favorite films, like Taxi Driver or The Bicycle Thief, show characters alone in front of the camera. The spectator identifies himself a thousand times more. In Taxi Driver, Travis Bickle is disturbed but we empathize with him, we feel compassion. Did you notice that the further the film goes, the less abnormal his behavior seems? It’s almost like virtual reality…

Looks like Scorsese made you grow, including physically.
I had to be credible to play Hughes at 40, that’s all. I didn’t make this movie to prove that I could play grown men and not be “the kid from Titanic” anymore. Playing a teenage role again would not be a problem for me.
Interview by Stéphanie Lamome.

Where did Leonardo DiCaprio go?

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