Chat-worthy actor: Leonardo DiCaprio

Inception Countdown Post #3

Photo courtesy of Vanity Fair magazine

Perhaps Leonardo DiCaprio is destined to be a movie star. The 35-year-old actor was born in Hollywood after all, and had started acting from as young as five years old in TV shows and commercials. I first noticed Leo in the sitcom Growing Pains when I was in Jr. High, as the geeky, gangly homeless boy. Who’d have thought that just six years later, he became the major heartthrob of his day with Titanic. I’ve got to admit I had a massive crush on him, well on Jack Dawson to be precise, just like girls are bewitched by Twilight‘s Edward more than R-Patz himself. In any case, I rented practically every one of his movies I could get my hands on: The Quick and the Dead, The Basketball Diaries, Romeo + Juliet, etc., even obscure ones like Total Eclipse, where he played a gay French poet Arthur Rimbaud.

Though James Cameron’s highest-grossing movie of all time made Leo a star, it wasn’t exactly his acting breakthrough. There have been noteworthy performances prior to it that got him noticed by Hollywood. One in particular was The Boys’ Life (1992) as a troubled teen, alongside Robert DeNiro and Ellen Barkin. He then nabbed an Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actor playing a mentally disabled boy in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (2003). Today, the headliner of Inception is easily the biggest movie star of his generation, so much so that we can pretty much say just the first three letters of his first name and people will know who we’re talking about. Thankfully, unlike a bunch of other stars, Leo’s talent and body of work do measure up to his level of celebrity.

Leo, Leo, Leo!

Here are just a few more reasons why he’s definitely chat-worthy:

  • His ability to overcome his matinee-idol image. After the Titanic‘s Leo-mania, he took a few years break from acting (he only briefly appeared in Woody Allen’s Celebrity). If there ever were a class about ‘how to survive massive sudden fame and rise above the overwhelming hype,’ DiCaprio would be the ultimate Exhibit A.
  • He’s much more than a pretty face and never capitalize on his looks on choosing movie roles.
  • He’s a favorite among the best filmmakers in the biz, who’ve worked with him multiple times: Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott. And he’s collaborated with other well-respected directors throughout his career: James Cameron, Sam Mendez, Danny Boyle and now Christopher Nolan.
  • He lives a relatively ‘quiet’ personal life, despite being a paparazzi fodder due to his popularity, he’s rarely in the tabloids for drug/alcohol abuse or other heinous acts.
  • No matter what your political leanings, his commitment to environmental causes is admirable. He’s also shown considerable charity, i.e. donating $1 million to the Haiti earthquake relief efforts.
Ridley Scott & Leo at the Body of Lies premiers

I was going to do my Top Five Favorite Leo DiCaprio movies, but I’ll reserve that until I see some of his recent movies Revolutionary Road, Shutter Island and of course Inception. From what I’ve seen so far though, Blood Diamond, Catch Me if You Can, and Titanic would likely make the list. One thing for sure, we haven’t seen the last best performance out of this A-lister just yet, I mean, just look at his list of future projects listed on IMDb. It even surpassed that of the most prolific guy in Hollywood Ridley Scott with no less than 21 rumored projects! But unlike Sir Ridley who directed him in Body of Lies, Leo’s only half his age. Speaking of which, the two’s recently been rumored to re-team for Wolf of Wall Street, a mere weeks after Leo’s rumored to take on J. Edgar Hoover’s biopic. Well, whatever movie he chooses next, we know he’ll always get his game on.

What are your thoughts on Leo? Want to share your favorite Leo DiCaprio movie(s)?