Leonardo DiCaprio would be very happy if you don’t read this story. In fact, he doesn’t want you to find out anything about this new movie “Shutter Island,” before you go and see it. “Go in with an open mind and let the story take you along for a ride,” said the 35-year-old star.
Still reading? OK. Directed by Martin Scorsese, “Shutter Island” is his 4th film with DiCaprio. Set in the 1950s, it deals with a U.S. Marshal (DiCaprio) and his partner who go to the title island to investigate the disappearance of a prisoner from an institution for the criminally insane. As the mystery deepens, a hurricane hits the island.
“It’s got elements of psychological thriller and gothic horror and told in an almost Hitchcockian style,” said DiCaprio during his 6th visit to Japan and his first since January 2007. “At its heart, and what fascinated me, is that it is about one man’s journey to find out the truth about who he is and come to terms with his past.”
DiCaprio had plenty of praise for Scorsese. “I think that in 1,000 years’ time when historians look back on cinema as an art form, Scorsese will be remembered as one of the defining artists of the period,” he said. “He’s a master at storytelling, he’s a master with the camera and he is such a film historian. He is at his best in films like this -- portraying the darkest side of humans. But it is his relationship with actors that defines him. His work with Robert De Niro has been one of the greatest cinematic relationships in history. I grew up watching all their films. Now, having worked with Scorsese over 10 years, I have learned so much. He looks to his actors to navigate the emotional narration and he wants to see where it takes him and you.”
DiCaprio said creating his character was the most intense work he has ever done. “Sometimes, when you read a screenplay, you don’t understand the impact until you do it. You come on set and realize that one scene, which might only have been a paragraph in the script, could be the most important part of the film. ‘Shutter Island’ is full of scenes like that.”
The film was also physically grueling. In order to create the hurricane, Scorsese had two gigantic fans blowing wind while firehoses drenched the actors. “It was chaos at times,“ said DiCaprio. Even worse, in another scene, his is nearly overrun by rats. “I was dreading it. They were real rats,” he said. “You know, they have people who actually train rats like you wouldn’t believe.”
DiCaprio said he likes to spend about three months in preparation for a role. “I think that is the most important part of making a movie. First, I read up on the postwar period in the 1950s, the conspiracy paranoia, what went on in mental institutions and so on. Then Scorsese had us watch lots of movies, such as 'Laura,' 'Vertigo' and 'Out of the Past.' He’s like that. I remember when we made ’The Aviator,’ he asked me to watch ‘His Girl Friday’ just to study one dinner scene.”
Such is the popularity of DiCaprio in Japan that his press conference was streamed live on the Internet in a rare move. He has been a megastar here since “Titanic” in 1997. So how does he feel about "Titanic" finally being surpassed by "Avatar" as the highest-grossing film of all time? “There was a lot of talk about whether 'Avatar' would make it. Good on them. 'Avatar' was an incredible experience. James Cameron has been able to tap into what audiences want to see on a worldwide level,” he said.
DiCaprio stayed a bit longer in Japan this time than stars usually do. He was accompanied by his girlfriend, Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli, her family and some of his family. After Tokyo, they spent a few days in Kyoto where they managed to wander around unnoticed. Fans won’t have to wait three years until his next visit, only three months -- the star will be back to promote his thriller “Inception,” with co-star Ken Watanabe.© Japan Today