DiCaprio “Hardest Working Man” In Show Business with 14 Film Projects

dicaprio-the-director.jpgLeo DiCaprio is making hard decisions about his ambitious 14-picture slate of pending pictures            By Gayl Murphy for Hollywood Today

HOLLYWOOD, CA (RUSHPRNEWS) August 9, 2007— Leonardo DiCaprio has apparently taken James Brown’s old title of the hardest working man in show business. Hollywood Today calculates a whopping 14 films in the pipeline for the actor between now and 2009-2010. We asked if it was fair to say if studios had $500 million dollars in total budgets riding on him and he concurred with a grin.

For these hopeful blockbusters of tomorrow, including films directed by Martin Scorsese and Michael Mann, word has it that for he’ll star in some – and others he’ll produce, including a TV show. This would be a big slate for a whole studio, or a big production house like Jerry Bruckheimer has. But for one actor/producer? What’s up with that and how will he cherry pick what gets made and what gets left under the table at The Ivy?

To this pointed question the actor takes pause, laughs out loud and tells Hollywood Today; “That’s a good question! That’s what I’m dealing with right now (Laugh). I’m taking one thing at a time. I just finished a film called “Revolutionary Road” with Kate Winslett, directed by Sam Mendes. We shot that in New York and Connecticut. I just got back four days ago. And then, I’m gonna go work with Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe in Morocco on an untitled film. A film about CIA operatives, I’ll start that in a few months.”

And the Martin Scorsese projects, or at least the Michael Mann film, where’s that on his radar screen? “We still don’t have a date for that and we still or don’t know what’s going on, but those two (the Mann and Scott-directed) I just mentioned are the only two sure things I’m doing.” Studios (mainly Warner Bros.) and producers who are in various stages of pre-production or planning on other dozen films may well have a bit of consternation over that comment.

And his agent is probably ready to confiscate Leo’s pen, so he doesn’t sign on to any more projects.

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But what is certain is his much talked about forthcoming environmental documentary “The 11th Hour,” a film he co-executive produced, narrated and affectionately calls “my homemade” movie. “It’s been a three-year process (and) in a lot of ways very unique in my career. It’s much different than going off and filming for three months. Condensing thousands of hours of footage into an hour and a half and trying to make a film that will really impacts people to the point, they leave the theater sitting in the face of the harsh reality of what will happen in the future if we don’t make a change. It also highlights and hopefully inspires people that there are a lot of solutions out there if they become active. That’s the whole key to making this movie.”

DiCaprio’s “The 11th Hour” documents the last moment when environmental change is possible. It explores how humanity has arrived at this moment of dramatic changes – how we live, how human behavior has impacted our ecosystems, and what we can do to change this deadly course. Featuring experts from all over the world, including former Soviet Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev, renowned scientist Stephen Hawking, former head of the CIA R. James Woolsey and sustainable design experts William McDonough and Bruce Mau. Also included are more than 50 leading scientists, thinkers and leaders who present the facts and discuss one of the most important issues that face our world.

Juxtaposed against this world of social and environmental activism, DiCaprio the actor acknowledges that when it comes to his personal life, he keeps mum for a reason besides privacy. He said he subscribes to the maxim “The more people know about me, the less they are able to buy into a character I play.”

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“I (do) say that a lot.” DiCaprio admits. But with this film, the cat is definitely out of the bag. Will it possible for him to still hide behind the mask? And what kind of balance will it be when he takes on that next big character role – thereby asking his fans to do the work for him of separating his two lives?

“Usually it’s not something I think about, (but) in this particular case, this has always been a huge passion of mine ever since I was very young. I was very affected by the media, much like this movie, I was affected by documentaries I saw as a young kid and about the rainforests and the mass extinction that’s going on right now.”

DiCaprio adds that it’s almost impossible for him to separate the two; therefore he’s chosen to see it as merging of two worlds. “I think this film is the culmination of that. My experience in this business and learning how to affect people emotionally through film and my passion for environmental issues and that’s what this movie has become. It’s been a pretty profound experience and a great learning experience for me because I really wanted to play the role of somebody who is, hopefully, asking the right questions of people who have devoted their lives to this issue.

And says DiCaprio, he’ll continue his environmental activism in any way he can because he’s by no means a “shut up and just act” actor.

“I’m very vocal about environmental issues and I’m going to continue to be and I’m going to continue to be an actor as well, because they’re simply passions of mine. The whole purpose of making this movie really stemmed from wanting to listen to what the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community was.

“ And for me, just as a citizen of the United States, I wanted to hear what these people have to say in an uninterrupted form. I wanted to hear their life’s work and what they’ve been studying for all this time and it was about us asking these questions. And hopefully, when people see this movie they’ll be emotionally impacted and want to do something about it. That was the whole point, to make a human film, wherein you realize the harsh realities of what will happen if we continue with business as usual.”

DiCaprio is convinced that movies with relevant current messages are the way to go, as long as people will come out and see them and they reflect what’s going on the world now.

Does he see a change on the horizon in Hollywood in terms of what filmmakers, and those who bankroll them, are willing to make deals on? Case in point, this CIA drama with Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott that he’s got next?

“I think it’s encouraging, it’s a throwback to the political films I enjoyed in the 70’s, like “Parallax View” and “Three Days of the Condor” and I’d love to be a part of more like that. I love if it’s a good enough story and it has a great narrative in it and it’s a good film first and foremost. I’m a huge advocate for making them. That’s why “Blood Diamond” was huge on my radar and I jumped at that opportunity and certainly this film with Ridley.”

His agent is probably having convulsions but DiCaprio say he wants to sign on for even more socially relevant films. “I’d love to do more and that when people go to see them, the studios will be encouraged to make more. You know, we talk about media, yet this is the way people are educated about these issues now a days. This is the main avenue for learning in today’s world.”

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