He’s living up to his stardom

Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest role caps off a golden decade of performances in movies like Blood Diamond and The Departed

Published:January 4, 2009 1:00 pm

Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest role caps off a golden decade of performances in movies like Blood Diamond and The Departed

What was it like working with Kate Winslet again after 10 years?
It was great,better even than I expected. Because not only is Kate the best actress of her generation,she’s also my dear friend. So working with her again was a pleasure on two levels.

She was the prime mover of the project.
Yes,she shepherded it for many,many years. She’d just locked her eyes on the novel and was determined to see a great movie rendition of it.

Entertainment Weekly says you were reluctant to do the movie—and it took her two years to “coax” you aboard.
That isn’t true,actually. It’s something I said yes to relatively quickly. I think that (misconception) may have come from the fact that Kate had the project so early on,but it wasn’t until Sam (Mendes,her director husband) got involved and all the pieces were there that it seemed real. It’s not often that powerful material like this comes your way.

Had you read Yates’ novel before getting involved with the movie?
I’d heard about it and knew it had a cult following. But I’d never read it. And,wow,when I did read it—after reading the script—I was blown away. I’m such a huge fan of Yates now. I don’t think there’s any book I’ve read that comes as close to tapping into that unconscious voice we all have in our lives of doubt.

Did you have any qualms about playing a character that many people will find unsympathetic?
In the beginning Frank is very detestable. He’s sleeping with his secretary and convincing his wife she has mental problems because he doesn’t have the courage to change his own life. But toward the end of the movie he’s desperately trying to salvage the relationship and not knowing what to do,and becoming more and more of a lost child. I feel great compassion for him at this point. Yates does a terrific job of jarring you as an audience or a reader so you don’t really know who to solidify your faith in. And that’s very human. We’re not just one thing. We’re complicated creatures.
_WILLIAM ARNOLD,NYT

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