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December 4, 1996

By Prairie Miller

 

Interview about Marvinīs Room

Hollywood bad boy Leonardo DiCaprio is at it once again, resurfacing as a havoc wreaking character in Marvinīs Room, not to mention Romeo and Juliet. DiCaprio described with great relish his role as the crazed teenage son in Marvinīs Room, and how he gets to drive mom Meryl Streep crazy. In this otherwise tender drama about family commitment in the face of the major illness, DiCaprio really gets committed after burning Streepīs house down and disrupting family life in general.

Prairie Miller: Was it scary for you to be the bad guy who has to snarl at this star studded cast throughout the movie?

Leonardo DiCaprio: Obviously thereīs going to be that side of it, that Iīm just going to look like a nerd compared to all of them, including Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton.You feel like youīre going to be on screen just completely not seeming real at all. But once you get over that and youīre comfortable with them, then itīs like a rush, a challenge. The great thing about actors like Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep is that they challenge you. Theyīre sitting there and theyīll look you right in the eye, and theyīll do something that strikes you completely from the field. And you have to come back with something, itīs like a game which rarely gets to be played, I love it.

PM: How did you get all that great negative chemistry going with Meryl Streep?

LD: The question I usually get is, were you intimidated working with a person of this caliber. I loved working with Meryl Streep, sheīs awesome. Sheīs hard core, too, sheīs just the most hard core woman in the world. Sheīs so, I donīt know, sheīs great. Hard core in the sense that she just knows what sheīs doing. She walks on the set and sheīs charged, sheīs just ready. And itīs like, you canīt mess with her. You just canīt, and I wouldnīt. But sheīs a normal human being, she jokes around and sheīs funny, but sheīs not to be mesed with.

PM: Are you anything like the dark characters you play?

LD: No, I donīt think so. Iīm so low-keyed, itīs unbelievable. I get weirded out when I hear about all the artists who degrade themselves in order to get into the character. I donīt take it to those extremes. I think thatīs a path to destroying yourself. Itīs a path you take in order to not be around on this earth, and I donīt want to do that. Thatīs the great thing about acting, that I can do things that I would never attempt to do in real life Thatīs the beauty of being an actor, that you can explore and do all these things and itīs not like you have to suffer the consequences.

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