Created on: January 23, 2013
The transition from young heartthrob to mature leading man is one that many actors find hard. The pressure of fame, and the loss of the fickle attentions of the female teenage audience cause many a bright star to fade once they pass their mid-twenties. One exception that may prove the rule, however, is Leonardo DiCaprio.
Born in LA in 1974, Leonardo DiCaprio made his first film debut in the unpromising "Critters 3" in 1991. This early role was swept away however, by early performances in films such as "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" and "The Basketball Diaries". Playing literature's most famous lover opposite Clare Danes in 1996's "Romeo + Juliet" took him to the very cusp of international superstardom, before
But then a most peculiar thing happened. While endlessly dire sequels were being proposed to recapture DiCaprio's success in "Titanic", he could so easily have taken the easy route of romantic comedies and action films and become a bankable star. But instead, Leonardo DiCaprio decided he wanted to be a serious actor.
His less than spectacular delivery of Shakespeare's blank verse in "Romeo + Juliet' left many sceptical of his talents in this direction, in spite of powerful early performances in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" and "Total Eclipse", and a challenging dual role in 1998's "The Man in the Iron Mask". But instead of taking the easy money, DiCaprio began working with Woody Allen ("Celebrity"), Steven Spielberg ("Catch Me if You Can") and Martin Scorsese (beginning with "Gangs of New York", and now a regular face in Scorsese's 21st Century output).
While "Catch Me if You Can" was relatively disposable fluff, "Gangs of New York" was arguably the first time DiCaprio was taken seriously as an actor, as opposed to just being a pretty face. Holding his own against a resurgent Daniel Day-Lewis was no easy feat, and it boosted his critical reputation no end. With "The Aviator", "The Departed" and "Shutter Island" following in rapid succession, it was clear Scorsese rated the young actor highly.
Because DiCaprio has taken on some risky projects in his career, he has endured a fair amount of criticism. 'The Beach" was released to nonplussed if not mixed reviews, and his collaboration with Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe in 2008's 'Body of Lies' was perhaps ill-considered. But with "Revolutionary Road", "Blood Diamond" and a host of other films under his belt, DiCaprio has become recognized as a serious movie actor with the talent to back up his looks.
Still working with the best directors in the business, 2010 saw the actor take on science-fiction with Christopher Nolan's superb "Inception", while at the time of writing he is wowing audiences with a rare appearance as a villain in Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained". With a further Scorsese appearance in the pipeline for 2013 in "The Great Gatsby", the future is very bright for Leonardo DiCaprio.
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