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Leonardo DiCaprio Reunites with Director Martin Scorsese for 'The Departed'

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Leonardo DiCaprio stars in The Departed

Leonardo DiCaprio stars in The Departed.

© Warner Bros Pictures
Leonardo DiCaprio on Working with Jack Nicholson: “Well, as far as Jack was concerned, we kind of expected the unexpected, you know? We knew that if he was going to come [on board], to have Jack Nicholson join up with Martin Scorsese and play a gangster is something that I think a lot of movie fans have been waiting for.

For me, there were a number of different scenes where I had no idea what was going to happen. One scene in particular, the prop guy sort of… We did the scene one way and I remember Jack speaking to Marty because he said he didn't feel that he was intimidating enough. It was one of the table scenes, yeah, and it was one of the most memorable moments of my life as far as being an actor is concerned. I remember coming into the scene one way and then I came in the next day and the prop guy told me, ‘Well, be careful. He's got a fire extinguisher, a gun, some matches, and a bottle of whiskey.’ Okay… So, you know, some things are in the film that he did that day and some things aren't. But for me, as an actor, it wasn't necessarily [that] I'm afraid.”

DiCaprio continued, “You know, we're all professional actors and we're all playing roles, but for me playing this character of this guy that has to relay to the audience this constant 24-hour panic attack that I'm going through for my life, surrounded by people that would literally blow my head off if I gave them any indication of who I was, coupled with the fact that I'm sitting across the table from a homicidal maniac that will maybe light me on fire. It gives you, I don't want to say as an actor a sense of fear, but as a character a whole new dynamic. It completely altered and shifted the scene in a completely different direction.

I think we all knew that if he came on board that he would have to sort of grab the reins with this character and let him be freeform. We all were completely ready for that every day that we walked up on the set. You know, he had a short run. He filmed his scenes and then he left, but those were some of the most intense moments of the film for me, certainly. And as a human being, as a person, there were some memories that I will never forget.”

The Appeal of Martin Scorsese’s Films: As an actor, what is it about Scorsese that attracts DiCaprio to his films? DiCaprio answered, “Well, I'm a fan of his work, number one. The truth is I suppose, for me anyway, that it all started [about] wanting to work with him doing This Boy's Life with Robert De Niro and getting sort of familiar with Robert De Niro's work, and obviously that means Martin Scorsese's work as well. I became a fan of his work at a very early age. If you asked me who I wanted to work with starting out in the business, it would have been this guy right here [pointing to Scorsese].

I got fortunate enough to work with him on Gangs of New York in 2000 and I think just from there we, I don't have an exciting term for it other than we have a good time working together and we have similar tastes as far as the films we like. He certainly has broadened my spectrum as far as films that are out there in the history of cinema and the importance of cinema. It really brought me to different levels as an actor. I look at him as a mentor.”

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