Leonardo DiCaprio is the cover boy for the October issue of GQ – emphasis on “boy”. Did they set the Photoshop tool to “1999”? Leo’s face is not this thin anymore. I like Leo and everything, but as he’s grown up, weight has gone to his face and it’s never left and he’s no longer this good-looking kid that GQ wants us to see. Anyway, you can see the full slideshow here – lots of nice photos, where Leo looks very young. Leo is promoting his new film, J. Edgar, which was directed by living legend Clint Eastwood. Leo’s big accomplishment as an actor before now was his relationship with Martin Scorsese, who is famously detail-oriented and almost OCD. I would imagine coming off of several Scorsese films, working with laid-back, easy-going Clint Eastwood would be a breath of fresh air. The tabloids tried to make it sound like Clint and Leo weren’t getting along, but Clint is around for part of Leo’s interview, and they sound like two men who respect each other. Here are some interview excerpts:
Leo on learning to care about the financial part of filmmaking: “Throughout my career, I never knew which movies of mine made money and which didn’t. When Titanic came out, people would say, ‘Do you realize what a success this is?’ And I’d say, ‘Yeah, yeah, it’s a hit.’ The [money] stuff never mattered to me until I was into my thirties and got interested in producing, and people would show me charts explaining what finances a movie, what you’ll make from foreign, what you’ll make from domestic, what you need to make an R-rated film that’s a comedy versus a drama. But even now I say that unless you want to prove that you can carry a film with your name, continuously trying to achieve box-office success is a dead end.”
Leo felt overwhelmed: “My introduction to acting in films was with De Niro in This Boy’s Life. When I got the part I was 15, and somebody said, ‘Do you realize who you’re gonna work with?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I guess.’ And they said, ‘No, no, no. Go watch all of his films, and then go see these people’s films.’ So I obsessively watched films on VHS, and I remember feeling so overwhelmed by what had been done in cinema already. Watching a young Brando or James Dean or Montgomery Clift, I was like, Oh, my God, how can anyone ever hope to achieve that type of greatness?”
Leo‘s wet dream (as an actor): “For my generation, it’s always the ’70s. That period where you felt like the hands were being dealt back in the director’s favor. The studios realized that letting them tell their stories was something the audience had a hunger for. And of course, it all went awry. [They both laugh.] Taxi Driver to me is the ultimate independent-movie performance. Playing a character like Travis Bickle is every young actor’s wet dream.”
GQ: [To Eastwood] You’ve described yourself as a social libertarian. What does that mean to you?
Clint Eastwood: I was an Eisenhower Republican when I started out at 21, because he promised to get us out of the Korean War. And over the years, I realized there was a Republican philosophy that I liked. And then they lost it. And libertarians had more of it. Because what I really believe is, let’s spend a little more time leaving everybody alone. These people who are making a big deal out of gay marriage? I don’t give a f–k about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t be making a deal out of.
Leonardo Dicaprio: That’s the most infuriating thing—watching people focus on these things. Meanwhile, there’s the onset of global warming and—
Clint Eastwood: Exactly!
Leonardo Dicaprio: —and these incredibly scary and menacing things with the future of our economy. Our relationship to the rest of the world. And here we are focusing on this?
Clint Eastwood: They go on and on with all this bulls–t about “sanctity”—don’t give me that sanctity crap! Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want.
Eastwood on J. Edgar Hoover and the gay issue: “I’d heard all the various controversies and gossip—that he wore dresses at parties. Everybody was saying, maybe he’s gay because he’d never gotten married. But that’s the way they did it back in the ’40s. If a guy didn’t get married, they always thought, Oh, there’s something wrong with him… Well, [Hoover and Clyde Tolson, the associate director of the FBI] were inseparable pals. Now, whether he was gay or not is gonna be for the audience to interpret. It could have been just a great love story between two guys. Or it could have been a great love story that was also a sexual story.”
Leo on the gay thing: “What we’re saying is that [Hoover] definitely had a relationship with Tolson that lasted for nearly fifty years. Neither of them married. They lived close to one another. They worked together every day. They vacationed together. And there was rumored to be more. There are definite insinuations of—well, I’m not going to get into where it goes, but…”
Eastwood: “It’s not a movie about two gay guys. It’s a movie about how this guy manipulated everybody around him and managed to stay on through nine presidents. I mean, I don’t give a crap if he was gay or not.”
Adds Leo: “If I were a betting man, I actually don’t know what I would bet [regarding his sexuality].”
I actually thought that it was part of the historical record that J. Edgar was gay, and a transvestite. Right? Aren’t they teaching that in history books at this point? But if Clint Eastwood says it’s open to debate, so be it. Oh, and Clyde Tolson – Hoover’s rumored lover/life-partner – is being played by Armie Hammer. That big hunk of handsome that our moms love. Armie got the cover of Details – you can read his interview here.
Photos courtesy of GQ, Details.