Look at that face, isn’t it gorgeous? How could you not want to shoot that, frame it and and swoon over it in the editing suite? Why wouldn’t you want that glorious, meaty, filled-out visage on your set each and every day? It’s a work of art. A feisty, Mount Rushmore masterpiece fit for one of the finest actors of our generation.
And that’s the problem directors have had over ‘shooting’ Leonardo DiCaprio; they can’t take their eyes off him, hence the ridiculous running times for most of King Leo’s Hollywood epics.
The list of his two-hour plus, binge cinema is endless: Titanic, The Aviator, Django Unchained, Catch Me If You Can, Gangs of New York, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Departed, Inception, The Great Gatsby, Shutter Island, Blood Diamond, J Edgar, The Man in the Iron Mask and Body of Lies.
In fact, if we take his last his 13 films (from current squeeze Wolf all the way back to Gangs of New York in 2002), they are all on the cusp of two hours or, most of the time, closer to three. I don’t know if that’s value for money or Hollywood indulgence, either way long-distance Leo is laughing (and gasping) all the way to the bank.
An early indicator of this trend might have come in his breakthrough films like This Boy’s Life and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape which are both more than 100 minutes long. That puppy-ish golden brown face and those dancing eyes were obviously too much for the director’s concerned and that why we have the slightly bloated, if intermittently interesting, pictures we have today.
Which brings us to nicely to Martin Scorsese (and his five long pictures with Leo DC). Once upon a time he had another ‘great’ actor to work with, Robert De Niro. Were those films just as long? Some were, like Goodfellas, New York New York and Casino (and there were others like Godfather II, 1900 and The Deer Hunter which were just as deadly) but for sheer, fatigue-inducing screen sickness, DiCaprio wins hands down, simply because he’s really gone to town in this decade. Add up all the screen time in his last dozen movies and it’s mammoth; a monstrous back-to-back Hollywood nightmare.
But some of the films are good, you say? They are but there’s no excuse for the directors face fetish of a fine actor who’s better at idealism than authority. They obviously know what brings in the Hollywood dough; a beautiful face with talent to burn and stamina to match. It’s no contest. Leo DC’s a marathon man who can go a distance – and knock us out of the ring in the process. He’s the capital of Hollywoodland. A license to print money – and do some extra takes. It’s a win-win situation but maybe not for us.