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Leonardo DiCaprio on Inception

Published July 15, 2010 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Warner Bros
Inception may be a big summer action film but it certainly seems in Leonardo DiCaprio’s wheelhouse. He plays a tormented rogue who works in the realm of dreams while haunted by his own past. Yup, that’s the star of Shutter Island, Revolutionary Road and The Departed.

DiCaprio Leads Inception


“I don’t really question when I read a script,” DiCaprio said. “If I feel I can be of service to that role, if I feel like it emotionally engages me, it’s something that interests me and obviously if the director is somebody that has the capacity to pull off the ambitious nature of whatever they’re trying to do in the screenplay, I never question that. So I guess a lot of my films have been more serious in tone but that’s something that I don’t try to deny. Look, I’m a very fortunate person. I get to choose the movies that I want to do. I have a lot of friends in this industry that don’t get to do that. I grew up in L.A. A lot of my friends are actors so I realize every day how lucky I am to have this opportunity, so while I’m here, I’m going to try to do exactly what I want.”

Coming straight after Shutter Island, astute viewers might choose to read more similarities into DiCaprio’s roles. “Like I said before, these were characters and filmmakers and plot structures that I was compelled to do and I’m lucky to be able to do, so I jump on those opportunities. I traditionally have always tried to work with the best directors I can. These types of films that are psychologically sort of dark at times, I find extremely exciting to do because there’s always something to think about. There’s nothing more boring than to show up on set and say a line and know that your character means exactly what they say. It’s interesting to have an unreliable narrator in a film and that’s what both of those films have been. Both these characters are unreliable to themselves and the characters around them. So that sheer notion was extremely exciting to me.”


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Inception offered the double whammy of epic worldwide production, along with deep interior psychology. “What was very interesting for me was reading the original screenplay, this story structure was extremely ambitious in the fact that it was simultaneously, you had four different states of the human subconscious that represented different dream-states, and each one affected the other. What Chris [Nolan] talked about very early on with us was being able to go to these six different locations around the world [and what] was startling to me in how complicated the screenplay was, was seeing it in a visual format. That’s the magic of moviemaking. You clearly identify one scenario with the other, and it’s a completely different experience. The snow-capped mountains of Canada, or whether you’re in a van or a L.A. elevator shaft or Paris or London, you experience it and you have a visual reference. And it was a lot easier to understand than I ever thought it would be. That’s a testament to how engaging movies are, and the visual medium is.”

Playing Cobb, DiCaprio had to be the vessel through which the audience will understand this complicated story. “Like I said before, this was an extremely ambitious concept that Chris was trying to pull off here. He accomplished it in flying colors. There’s very few directors I think in this industry that would pitch to a studio that they wanted to do a multi-layered almost at times existential high action, high drama surreal film that’s sort of locked in his mind. And then have an opportunity to do that, and that’s a testament to the work he’s done in the past. Watching his work and certainly in Memento and Insomnia, he’s able to portray these highly condensed, highly complicated plot structures and give them emotional weight and have you as an audience feel fully engaged along that process. So for me, Chris and I got to work and talk a lot about the different concepts of that and what Cobb has been through in the dream world, what his past is. Certainly what Marion [Cotillard]’s character represented and I had a lot of wonderful talks with Marion as well about some of the sequences at the end that start to become very surreal and disturbing at times. So as we were talking more and more about the character, it all became more and more exciting. I think all of us mutually here felt like this was a journey that we had to be a part of. It was extremely exciting.”

Inception opens to theaters on July 16th.

For the trailers, posters, stills, review and movie info, go to the Inception Movie Page.
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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Warner Bros
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