Just a Minute With: Leonardo DiCaprio and "Body of Lies"

Thu Oct 9, 2008 1:15pm EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Born of Hollywood, acting as a teenager, Oscar-nominated by age 19, Leonardo DiCaprio is a product of the film studio's star-making machine.

He made young women swoon in the biggest box office hit of all-time, 1997's "Titanic," but his youthful looks meant the transition to strong, leading man roles would be difficult. Yet, as he left his 20s and entered his 30s, he earned Oscar nominations for playing Howard Hughes in 2004's "The Aviator" and two years later, a gem smuggler in "Blood Diamond."

He has become an activist for environmental issues, making a global warming documentary, "The 11th Hour."

Donald De Line, producer of DiCaprio's new spy thriller "Body of Lies" dealing with the CIA and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, called him "an intellectually curious man who has a mature world view and way of looking at things."

DiCaprio spoke about "Body of Lies," in which he plays a CIA agent trying to make sense of his life inside the agency.

Q: As you've grown older, has it been important to take movie roles that have something to say to audiences? "Blood Diamond" delivered a message, as does "Body of Lies."

A: "Absolutely. You are unconsciously drawn toward subject matters like that. They are exciting and slightly dangerous and provocative. That doesn't always mean that people: a) are going to want to see them, or b) they are going to be quality pieces, or c) they'll have any kind of impact whatsoever. First of all you have to make a good movie that is entertaining. Then you have to say, 'Now let's talk about the politics.' If you do a film just for the sake of making a statement to the world -- which I don't think this movie is -- and people don't see, it's a profound waste of time."

Q: When do movies preach too much?   Continued...

<p>Actor Leonardo DiCaprio arrives for the premiere of the film "Body Of Lies" in New York, October 5, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>