Thursday, January 16, 2014

Leonardo DiCaprio – Hollywood’s Golden Boy

Since the world took serious notice of Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic in 1997 – as he played the carefree yet insightful Jack Dawson who delivered witty and endearing dialogues while charming the young, well-to-do Rose played by Kate Winslet – we have been mesmerized not only by his good-looks that have destined him to be a movie star, but also his undeniable talent that has secured him as one of the best movie stars of our time.

Leonardo, born in 1974 to a mother of German descent and a father of Italian and German descent, is said to have gotten his name by kicking for the first time while his pregnant mother was looking at a Leonardo da Vinci painting in Italy – almost as if his artistic instinct and intuition is intrinsic to his very nature.

Leonardo’s place in Hollywood was secured by his acute and sharp portrayal of Johnny Depp’s mentally handicapped brother in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, for which he received an Academy Award nomination. Some of the most acclaimed and celebrated movies of the past few years have starred Leonardo in prominent roles; Catch Me If You Can, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, Blood Diamond, The Departed, and Inception just to name a few. But it’s been his latest work in Django Unchained, The Great Gatsby and The Wolf of Wall Street that has made Leonardo Hollywood’s “golden boy”.

One of his greatest works to date has been his depiction of Jay Gatsby in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, which left nothing to be desired by way of Leonardo’s infallible characterisation. He understands the attention to detail that goes into the craft of acting and his dramatic versatility and perception is what sets him apart from other actors – that and the fact that he never seems to age and still strongly resembles the youthful Romeo he played in Romeo +  Juliet almost 18 years ago.

He’s also just won the Golden Globe award for Best Actor in The Wolf of Wall Street, which came as no surprise. Leonardo manages to evoke such depth into his character, Jordan Belfort, a wealthy stockbroker who spirals down from his American dream, that he reminds us of what cinema is meant to be – breathtakingly beautiful and poignant.

But apart from his wildfire success and supreme creative capabilities, Leonardo seems like a genuinely good guy too. With his fervent activism in environmental issues and his philanthropy, he seems to want to leave more of a legacy than just being a great actor. Perhaps he’ll also leave behind a legacy of unabashedly loving leggy blondes – more often than not, Victoria’s Secret angels; Erin Heatherton, Giselle Bundchen, Bar Rafeali, and Toni Garrn as his current girlfriend, just to name a few. But maybe it’s the charisma and allure of all that wrapped into the package of Leonardo that makes him a true star.

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