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FASCINATING FACTS: 15 Facts About Oscar-Winner Leonardo DiCaprio

 

The Oscars, 2016 were extra special because Leonardo DiCaprio finally took home an award, winning ‘Best Actor’ for The Revenant. Kate Winslet was all of us, as we cried happy tears during Leo’s acceptance speech. But how much do you know about everyone’s favorite Oscar-winner? Here are 15 facts about The Wolf of Wall Street that you probably didn’t know.

1. Leonardo DiCaprio was named after the legendary artist Leonardo da Vinci.

Image source: http://iledebeaute.ru

The story goes that DiCaprio’s pregnant mother, Irmelin, was looking at a Leonardo da Vinci portrait at gallery in Florence, Italy when baby Leo kicked for the first time. His father believed that was a sign and decided to name the baby after the Renaissance genius.(source)

2. The Titanic actor can speak a little bit of both German and Italian. 

Leonardo DiCaprio’s father, George diCaprio, is of Italian and German descent. His mother is German and DiCaprio spent a part of his childhood living with his maternal grandparents, Wilhelm and Helene Indenbirken, in the small town of Oer-Erkenschwick in Western Germany. Due to his time there, the actor can speak a little German. He was especially close with his grandmother and often invited her to share special occasions with him – like the London premiere of James Cameron’s epic ‘Titanic’.(1,2)

3. When Leonardo was 11 and trying to get an acting job, an agent tried to convince him to change his name because it sounded too “ethnic”.  

Image source: www.etonline.com

The agent recommended that DiCaprio change his name to Lenny Williams to ensure wider appeal and refused to sign him unless the actor went along with the idea. However, Leo chose to stick with his birth name and was eventually signed by an agent when he was 13 years old.(source)

4. Leonardo has been struggling to deal with obsessive compulsive disorder all his life. The Inception actor has the urge to walk through doorways several times.

Image courtesy: From the movie The Aviator (Buena Vista International)

DiCaprio played the role of American tycoon and entrepreneur, Howard Hughes, in the 2004 biopic The Aviator. The founder of Hughes Aircraft Company battled with severe OCD and DiCaprio could sympathize with Hughes’ illness, as he has fought the same condition all his life. DiCaprio has opened up about coping with OCD and explained that he feels the strong need to walk through doorways several times and step on every chewing gum stain he sees.(source)

5. Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Kevin Connolly and, magician, David Blaine were all part of a group of friends that called themselves the ‘pussy posse’.

Image source: celebuzz.com

This was in the late 90’s and DiCaprio was fast friends with Maguire, Connolly, Blaine, as well as Lukas Haas and  screenwriter/director Harmony Korine. Most of them had grown up auditioning together and became friends in the process. The group was notorious for chasing women, which was how it acquired its name. However, since then, the pussy posse has broken up and all the friends have gone their own, separate ways.(source)

6. When Kate Winslet found out that she had to be naked in front of Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic she decided to break the ice, and when they first met, she flashed him.

Image source: hollyscoop.com

This probably isn’t the most romantic start to Jack and Rose’s extraordinary love story, but it is true. To make filming the nude scene in the movie less awkward, Kate flashed DiCaprio the first time she ever met him. Incidentally, the nude sketch scene, where Rose urges Jack to draw her like one of his French girls, was one of the first to be shot.(source)

7. Leonardo DiCaprio has never done drugs and was taught how to play being high by drug experts in the movie The Wolf of Wall Street.

Image courtesy: from the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”

While DiCaprio certainly has a wild side, the actor insists that he’s never done drugs. So, playing the role of coke-snorting Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street probably didn’t come naturally to him. In a press conference, he said that he and co-star Jonah Hill prepped for the movie by consulting with an on-set drug expert and by watching a YouTube video titled ‘The Drunkest Man in the World’.(source)

8. Leonardo DiCaprio’s haircut from Titanic was outlawed by the Taliban.

Image source

Officers of the Taliban militia arrested 28 barbers across the city of Kabul for giving customers haircuts inspired by DiCaprio’s look in Titanic. Allegedly, barbers across the country were sent a letter from the Taliban, warning them not to give western, foreign haircuts to the youth. The movie was also banned in Afghanistan but Jack’s Titanic haircut, which was basically a long fringe and cropped back, became popular after copies of the movie became available on video tapes.(source)

9.  Leonardo Dicaprio bought a 104-acre island in Belize 10 years ago and has plans to build the world’s first eco-restorative resort that “restores” the island’s over-fished waters, coastline and forest.

Image source: www.theplaidzebra.com

The resort will be called ‘Blackadore Caye: A Restorative Island’ and will not only provide healing services to its guests but will also heal the island. The island is plagued by “overfishing, an eroding coastline and deforestation of its mangrove trees”. Guests will have to follow guidelines about what can, and cannot, be brought to the island. Plastic bottles, for example, will not be allowed on Blackadore Caye. The resort will also be fully equipped with infinity pools, villas built over the water, private beaches and a manatee conservation area. You can head to the island in 2018, for some serious R&R.(source)

10. DiCaprio ‘adopted’ a South African girl, when he was in the country shooting for Blood Diamond.

Image courtesy: www.sos-childrensvillages.org

The actor worked with orphans at SOS Children’s Villages in South Africa while he was shooting for the movie Blood Diamond. It was at the orphanage that DiCaprio really bonded with a South African baby girl, after talking and playing with her. While he will not be raising her, or living with her, Leo decided to sponsor her. He sends her a monthly cheque and they often speak on the phone.(source)

11. While filming the intense dinner scene in the movie Django UnchainedLeonardo DiCaprio slammed his fist on the table, breaking a glass and cutting his hand severely. However, DiCaprio never broke character and finished the scene, with his bloody hand making it to the final cut of the film. 

Image source: www.reignmag.com

(This may contain spoilers.)

DiCaprio, who played the role of the main antagonist in Django Unchained, injured his hand during one of the most climactic scenes of the film. Calvin Candie, the power-thirsty plantation owner who Leo portrays, confronts Django (Jamie Foxx) and Dr. Shultz (Christoph Waltz) when he learns that the two have managed to pull an elaborate scam on him so that they can rescue Django’s wife (Kerry Washington), a slave on Candie’s large plantation. While the scene was being shot, DiCaprio unintentionally slammed his hand into glass and cut it. Even as his hand bled profusely, DiCaprio improvised and kept going. At one point,  he even smeared the blood on his hand onto Washington’s face to establish dominance. Tarantino chose to keep this and the scene made it to the final cut of the movie.(source)

12. To prepare for the role of The Revenant’s protagonist, Hugh Glass, DiCaprio subjected himself to the harshest possible conditions, slept in animal carcass and ate raw bison liver. 

Image source: www.historyvshollywood.com

Pushing the envelope so far as method-acting is concerned, DiCaprio left no stone unturned as he prepared to take on one of the most challenging roles of his life. To do justice to the story of Hugh Glass, DiCaprio had to shoot in -25C temperatures and travel to remote locations in Canada and Argentina to film for a measly 90 minutes. The actor, who is a vegan, also ate raw bison liver and spent the night in an animal carcass.(source)

13. Leonardo DiCaprio and, his Titanic co-star, Kate Winslet helped pay the nursing home fees for the last Titanic survivor so she wouldn’t have to sell anymore Titanic mementos to raise cash.

Image source: www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Millvina Dean was only two years old when the ill-fated British ocean liner sank after colliding with an iceberg on April 15, 1912. She was the youngest of the 705 survivors and lived to be the last survivor of the tragic sinking. Before she passed away in 2009, she was living at a nursing home in Southampton. Unfortunately, Dean was struggling to pay the fees for the nursing home and had to sell several mementos from the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic. So, Leo and Kate pledged their support to a fund that would subsidize Millvina’s nursing home fees. At the time, they said that they hoped Millvina Dean would be able to rest a little easier knowing that her future was secure.(source)

14. The critically-acclaimed actor is also a champion for the cause of climate change and an environmental activist.

It was only when Leo made his Oscars acceptance speech that people sat up and took notice of his efforts in trying to increase awareness about climate change. At the awards, the actor grimly pointed out that

“…climate change is real, it is happening right now, it is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.”

However, the actor has supported the cause for a long time now and, to that end, set up the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 1998.  He has donated $30 million to the foundation, addressed the United Nations about the dangers of climate change in 2014 and even joined the People’s Climate March in Manhattan in the same year. The actor is currently working on a climate change documentary that took him to Baffin Island in the Arctic, last year. His massive celebrity status allows him to highlight these issues, even as he actively seeks out solutions to the very real threat of climate change.(source)

15. Aside from 3 Golden Globe awards, Leonardo DiCaprio had never won any major awards for his work. That was until his much-delayed Oscar win, this year. 

Image source: www.techinsider.io

DiCaprio was nominated for an Oscar four times, before he finally took home the Best Actor award for The Revenant. He won the Golden Globe thrice for his roles in The AviatorThe Wolf of Wall Street and, most recently, for his portrayal of fur trapper, Hugh Glass, in The Revenant. However, the true testament to Leo’s acting prowess is the love and appreciation the 41-year-old has received for his work, world over.(source)

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