“Titanic” made Leonardo DiCaprio a global screaming object in 1997. An excellent Arte documentary shows how the actor with German genes made it into a serious character actor.
Los Angeles – It’s the sheer, naked, global hysteria: When James Cameron brought his three-hour doomed epic “Titanic” to the cinemas in 1997, the main actor Leonardo DiCaprio became a global screaming object. Wherever he appears in public, the photographers fight each other for the best picture, especially girls and young women get out of hand. Practically overnight, the dazzling, brown-haired curly head becomes a Hollywood icon at the age of just 23. And if, in retrospect, there is one thing in DiCaprio that has to be admired in any case, then it is this: At some point he apparently felt that at this point in his life triumph and abyss are very close to one another.
Today, more than two decades later, film fans all over the world know and appreciate the now 46-year-old as the best and most versatile character actor that US cinema has to offer. The almost one-hour documentary “Leonardo DiCaprio – Most wanted” by Henrike Sandner, which Arte is now showing, tells at the highest level of this very extraordinary story of a film career that has long since become a piece of cinema history in its own right.
He asserts himself against Robert De Niro
Sandner also joins, how could it be otherwise, with the hype about “Titanic”. But his big concern is not only to show how good DiCaprio was as an actor in the time after “Titanic”, but above all how good he was as an actor before “Titanic” – which, by the way, also makes it clear how strikingly little the ship’s director James Cameron was interested in the playful potential of his main actor.
In the family drama “This Boy’s Life” (1993), DiCaprio, who was not yet 20 years old, had to assert himself on the set against Robert De Niro; Director Michael Caton-Jones reports on the work in the documentary. In “Gilbert Grape” (1993) DiCaprio played a handicapped boy so “real” that the film writer Agnieszka Holland, as she relates, believed for a long time as a viewer that the role was actually cast by a handicapped boy. Which is why she immediately engaged DiCaprio as the beautiful and dangerous poet Arthur Rimbaud in “Total Eclipse” (1996).
For the “Revenant” there is finally an Oscar
At the end of the millennium, when the world was upside down for him, DiCaprio remembers this work at the right time, of his early work – and forges an artistic liaison with old director Martin Scorsese. A role success story begins with “Gangs of New York” and “Aviator”, which is also rewarded with the long-overdue Oscar in 2016 – for the actually inconceivable “Revenant” directed by Alejandro Innaritu.
Lots of film clips, lots of interesting interviews: the documentary “Most wanted” shines with expertise and calm. A great moment for every film fanatic.
February 5, 2021, 10:25 p.m.; also in the media library. On February 14th (Valentine’s Day!) Arte will show Leonardo DiCaprio in Baz Luhman’s spectacular pop culture film version of “Romeo and Juliet” from 1996 at 8:15 pm.