Actor Leonardo DiCaprio is a pretty big deal in Hollywood.
From “The Wolf of Wall Street” to “The Revenant,” it’s clear that DiCaprio works well either as a leading character or as part of an ensemble cast.
In an exclusive interview with Deadline, they joked that “Now, the way it usually goes is, okay, if you’ve got Leonardo, you’ve got a movie and you cast around him.”
However, that’s not quite the way it worked in Adam McKay’s climate change comedy, “Don’t Look Up,” which was released for streaming on Netflix late last year. The film packs some serious star power from Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Jonah Hill, Tyler Perry, and many, many others.
However, DiCaprio revealed that he was one of the last actors to commit to the project.
Leonardo DiCaprio Revealed That Adam McKay ‘Cracked The Code’
During the interview, the former “Titanic” actor revealed that there were “some other films that were conflicting with it.”
“But I’d always wanted to do a film about this subject matter,” he continued. “It is incredibly hard to tackle the subject matter over the climate crises in a two-, three-hour format. It’s something like a slow, deadly roll, as far as ramifications of climate to the environment.”
“I really just felt like Adam cracked the code with this idea of it becoming a comet, and have society and the media and people make it a partisan issue,” he added.
‘This Is Such An Insane Time For The Worldwide Population’
Another reason that DiCaprio was hesitant to commit to the project was due to the script. In an earlier interview, McKay revealed that he and DiCaprio worked on the script together for several months before they began filming.
“With Leo, it was always productive,” McKay had said. “He’s really smart. He understands tone and character and narrative at a high level.”
“Maybe a few lines Leo would question, but he was always respectful about it and I would just say, ‘Let’s get it on camera, and if it sucks I’m not going to use it.’ He even came into the editing room and looked at cuts of the film and really gave us some incredibly valuable notes,” he added.
“I wanted to make sure that we developed the character properly and that we worked on the story, which he was so completely open to,” DiCaprio explained. “We did a lot of work on Dr. Mindy and the structure of the story.”
DiCaprio revealed that he knew he had to get involved in the project when he realized that now was the perfect time for the world to receive McKay’s message.
“And then, at some point, you say to yourself, my God, this is such an insane time for the worldwide population to be communally experiencing the same thing, which is having to stay home because of microscopic germs, infecting the world population,” he continued. “We’re all feeling the same thing at the same time, and it just dawned on me, this is just so timely and such a lightning rod of an issue.”
“I was a huge Adam McKay fan and of course, working with that cast was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he added. “But really at the end of the day, doing a movie about this subject matter at this time, there are very few movies historically like that.”
Leonardo DiCaprio Describes His Character As ‘Tricky To Navigate’
Leonardo DiCaprio has played some complicated characters in the past, but he described the character of scientist and researcher Dr. Mindy as “tricky to navigate.” He compared his character to that of Jennifer Lawrence’s character: Ph.D. candidate and the one who initially discovered the comet, Kate Dibiasky.
“As opposed to Jen’s character, which is much more the Greta Thunberg, outspoken, sort of radical, here he is, put into this position where he is now being used as the government expert and the figurehead of the science in connection with the White House,” DiCaprio explained.
“And he loses his way. In a lot of ways, he becomes subject to, social media and the attention that he’s getting,” he adds. “And he loses his own identity in all of this, trying to play within the system and trying to work with the powers that be.”
“And then, at some point, he realizes that they’re completely disconnected and he gets to a place of peace with the fact that, it’s out of his hands,” he concluded. “Adam didn’t make both of these characters similar in that way and I just love that juxtaposition that he gave with both of them.”
“Don’t Look Up” is currently available to stream on Netflix.