Hollywood’s sparkling star-child and poster boy of middle-aged individuals throughout the world, there are few bigger names in the film industry as Leonardo DiCaprio. From his role as Rose’s lover on board the Titanic to his more recent depiction of Jordan Belfort in Martin Scorsese’s insane Wolf of Wall Street, DiCaprio has long dominated the silver screen with his good looks and sharp acting chops.
Climbing up the industry ladder, DiCaprio quickly found his feet thanks to his role on the ABC sitcom Growing Pains before transitioning onto the big screen with a significant role in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape directed by Lasse Hallström that would catapult the young actor to an Oscar-nomination.
Released in 1993, this wasn’t the only film on DiCaprio’s slate that year, also starring in the biographical film This Boy’s Life alongside Robert De Niro, in a movie that the young actor would later describe as one of his most life-changing. Speaking to Time Out about his time in the role, “I was 15 years old, and I remember every single detail…Everything was so new to me”. Appearing alongside the great Robert De Niro, DiCaprio would also note the extraordinary influence the Taxi Driver actor would have on him, stating, “Watching Robert De Niro on set, seeing his dedication, was one of the most influential experiences of my life”.
Whilst Robert De Niro was a significant influence on Leonardo DiCaprio’s career, there was another actor that he remembered as even better, calling her, quite simply, “the greatest”. The actor in question is the iconic Meryl Streep who DiCaprio worked with during the 1996 film Marvin’s Room by director Jerry Zaks, acting alongside Diane Keaton as well as Robert De Niro once more.
Speaking to Esquire in 2010, Leonardo DiCaprio remembered, “I was 18 when I got to work with Meryl,” before going on to explain her ferocity as an actor. Continuing, the actor states, “I remember going over my lines with her off-camera, looking at her and thinking to myself, ‘What is going on here? How is this going to look good?’ Then when I sat in the theatre, it was, ‘Oh, my God, she’s the only person who looks completely natural.’ Meryl may be the greatest actor in the world”.
Leonardo DiCaprio would go on to work with some of cinema’s finest ever filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Alejandro González Iñárritu. Despite three further Oscar nominations following What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, including for The Aviator, Blood Diamond and The Wolf of Wall Street, it wasn’t until the release of The Revenant in 2015 that the actor would finally see Oscar success.
Take a look at the trailer for This Boy’s Life below, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep.