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Why Scorsese Loves DiCaprio

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When Variety published word of another Martin Scorsese/Leonardo DiCaprio team up for Dennis Lehane’s mystery, Shutter Island, it made me wonder why the great director is so enamored of DiCaprio.  Sure, DiCaprio’s a terrific actor, but does Scorsese look at DiCaprio as the new De Niro?

Let’s take a look at what Scorsese has said in the past about Leonardo to see why this, to the director, is a match made in heaven.

Scorsese on DiCaprio in The Aviator:

"I felt that the main thing for me was that it’s a hard character to play,
to say the least. But he had such a determination. I mean, more than
half of it is wanting to do it, really wanting to do it. Then quite
honestly, I thought particularly the young Howard, like when he’s at
the Grauman’s Chinese and he’s in tails, he did seem to me [to look
like Hughes]."

Scorcese on DiCaprio in Gangs of New York:

"I think one of the things about
shooting (at Cinecitta Studios) in Rome and having the sets built
created a place; the more weather occurred, the more the place was
lived in and had a feeling of life around it. So Leo just felt like he
was part of the city streets, and within about two or three weeks, he
was like one of these street kids. He was really inspired by everybody
around him, particularly when you see all the supporting characters and
the extras in these costumes and hair — you really feel like you’re
back in time.
"

Scorsese on DiCaprio in The Departed:

"We kind of like the same subject matter and respond to the same flaws
in certain characters. I find him to be brave. He’s an actor with the
range, an actor who’s at peak form in his youth. He’s willing to put
all his energy into a part — and that’s a lot of energy, believe me.
Once he does, there’s no taking him from the path. He’s there. He goes
through it to the bitter end. There’s no need to convince him — of
anything. That’s a gift, to have someone like that."

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