Leonardo DiCaprio on Tarantino and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Leonardo DiCaprio

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is a romp of a movie, packed with 60’s Hollywood nostalgia, Tarantino’s signature style, and stunning performances. Leonardo DiCaprio opens up about what it was like to work with the auteur and why cinema will live forever… 

INDULGE: You’ve worked with some of the most incredible directors. What was it like to work with Tarantino whom you’ve worked with before on Django?

LEO: Not only is he forensic in showing an audience a specific time period in a certain culture, mixed with fairytale, mixed with tableau of memory, but all these things fit in a very unique way, the way that you don’t see in modern filmmaking. That’s why it’s so incredibly exciting to work on his movies because there’s this unexpected nature. Every day you’re on set, you don’t know what’s going to happen and everyone feels incredibly energized and excited to be there because there’s the great unknown.

Quentin Tarantino, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt on the set of ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD.Copyright © 2019 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Photo: Andrew Cooper

INDULGE: How much of a backstory did he give you to prepare for your roles?

LEO: We (Brad Pitt) had the benefit of getting this incredibly rich backstory, an entire history that he wrote for us. So even though it’s sort of a day-in-the-life of these two outcasts of Hollywood that are trying to fit their way into a changing culture and changing industry, there was an immediate familiarity with who these people were because we knew so much about our pasts. It was so easy to fit into those shoes.

INDULGE: We can only imagine how much fun it must have been…

LEO: Honestly, on set it’s kind of like this independent, student film yet with an incredibly high budget. There’s endless possibilities. Although you stick to the Bible of the Tarantino screenplay, he also leaves these openings for anything to happen.

Leonardo DiCaprio star in Columbia Pictures’ Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

INDULGE: This a movie that needs to be seen in the theatres, especially considering it’s such an homage to cinema. What do you think about the current trends of streaming and the decline of the communal experience?

LEO: I don’t think it can ever go away. People will always, I believe, want to go to movie theatres and have that experience. It’s the greatest art form in the world. I’m honored to be a part of it. We are entering an era where we are inundated with not only content and information but new, amazing stories, the format of which remains to be seen — whether the two-hour, three-hour format will stay intact, or whether things are going to be seven part series — but I don’t think we’re ever going to lose that communal experience of being able to go out to a theatre together and feel the energy of a movie we’re excited about. And that’s why this movie was so incredible and awesome because it’s a big budget, fantastic art film. And that we might see a lot less of. And that’s why you guys gotta’ keep going to theatres and supporting films like this.

INDULGE: How hard was it for Tarantino to get you guys together?

LEO: He’s one of the singular most original filmmakers working today and you know that we he calls you, it’s going to be an incredibly unique idea.

— Kelly Fine