Leonardo DiCaprio talks about the cathartic journey his character undertakes in Inception.
Chris Nolan said you and he spent months working on the emotional logic of your character. Why was it so rigorous?
Well, I think the reason he (Chris) hired a lot of the actors that he hired was to try to bring some emotional truth and validity to the characters within the dream world he created. That was our duty. That’s what our job is on every film.
This is an ambitious, high concept film that he’s been deliberating about for the last eight years, and was locked away in his mind. It took interaction with other people to try to understand that emotional logic and to try to create it. We spent months creating this cathartic journey for my character coming to grips with his past, his trauma, and his life... who he is... within the confines of this sci-fi dream structure that Chris wanted to present.
You mentioned in an interview that when you first read the script it was confusing and you had to do a lot of detective work to figure out what the film was really about. How did you put in such a strong performance when you couldn’t see the bigger picture?
That's the job of every actor. There are certain types of films where you have to take a leap of faith. If I’m doing a film about somebody in history, I have a tremendous amount of material to fall back on — documentaries, books, visuals. But, when you’re creating a unique character that doesn’t really have many references culturally, it's about creating that character yourself, with the filmmaker, and making those decisions. And this was very unique.
At the end of the day, the whole movie was like a therapy session, the character was like a long psychoanalysis of coming to grips with one's past and realising you have to move on to lead a healthier life.
What do you look for in a director?
Several things. Confidence and a sense of collaboration are very important to me. And, most of the time, a track record of having accomplished those things. That's why I've been driven to work with people that I believe in; make movies that I want to go and see more than once. Because when you want to see a movie more than once, you know that director has put a lot of thought into it and is also working on many different levels.
The interviewer hosts Picture This on NDTV 24X7