New De Niro? DiCaprio steps up as Scorsese's star

Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:40pm EST
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Leonardo DiCaprio may not remind movie fans of a young Robert De Niro, but he has taken on one of the intense New York actor's rewarding legacies.

DiCaprio, who won adoration and became a box office draw in "Titanic," has become the favored star of U.S. film director Martin Scorsese, whose pairing with De Niro catapulted both their careers in films like "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull."

Similarly, DiCaprio and Scorsese's names appeared together on movie marquees in "Gangs of New York" and "The Aviator," and now with their new fourth film together, "Shutter Island," the two are becoming synonymous with good filmmaking.

The psychological thriller hits U.S. theaters on February 19 after its premiere at the Berlin film festival this weekend.

"For me it is very simple," DiCaprio, 35, told Reuters about their pairing. "I am getting to work with the consummate director of my time. He is the definitive living director."

In "Shutter Island" a scruffy-looking DiCaprio plays a detective investigating a murder in a mental asylum on a remote island near Massachusetts. The film is based on the 2003 novel of the same name by author Dennis Lehane.

DiCaprio described the movie as approaching "a thriller with aspects of gothic horror and the psychological." Some critics have compared it to Scorsese's 1991 film "Cape Fear," starring De Niro, with whom he has made nine feature films.

"We definitely pushed the boundaries -- more so than ever before -- on this with our work together," said DiCaprio. "The different levels of emotion were certainly the most intense."   Continued...

<p>U.S. actor Leonardo DiCaprio (R) and director Martin Scorsese attend a news conference to promote their new film "Shutter Island" in Rome February 8, 2010. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi</p>