Leonardo DiCaprio has established himself as one of the world’s most recognisable acting talents because of his incredible filmography full of powerful projects. Right from the very beginning of his acclaimed film career, DiCaprio delivered wonderful performances which propelled him towards unprecedented success and stardom.
While many fans still revisit DiCaprio’s older classics such as Titanic and Catch Me If You Can, others wait each year for his latest work. He garnered a lot of acclaim last year for his performance in Don’t Look Up, a hard-hitting satirical project by Adam McKay which explored the attitude towards environmental collapse.
Since DiCaprio has reached the very top of the film industry now, he is in complete control of the projects he participates in and he is currently working with Martin Scorsese again on a new production. However, on one occasion, the actor felt as if his role in a film was not right for him at all but he decided to do it anyway.
That film was none other than Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained where he played the role of Calvin Candie, an evil plantation owner whose nature was fundamentally brutal. According to DiCaprio, he was apprehensive about portraying such a figure because it went against everything he stood for.
“It was this incredibly interesting horrific character,” DiCaprio said in an interview while commenting on the terrifying role. “I mean, there was absolutely nothing about this man I could identify with. I hated him and it was one of the most narcissistic, racist characters I’ve ever read in my entire life.”
When it came out, the film definitely received a lot of backlash from figures such as Spike Lee who criticised Tarantino for using racially charged language and claimed that the film was disrespectful. However, DiCaprio went ahead with his work because he was encouraged by his co-stars Samuel L. Jackson and Jamie Foxx.
The actor added: “One of the pivotal moments for me was this initial read-through, I wondered if it needed to be this violent and this atrocious to other human beings and it was Sam and Jamie who said, ‘If you sugarcoat this, people are gonna resent the hell out of you. You got to push this guy to the outer extreme.’ That is what ignited me into going the way I did into the character.”