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Scorsese and DiCaprio Talk Shutter Island, Aviator, Gangs of New York, Sinatra, Hugo Cabret

Scorsese and DiCaprio Talk Shutter Island, Aviator, Gangs of New York, Sinatra, Hugo Cabret

While Shutter Island is likely to earn several technical Oscar nominations, the fact that Paramount wrangled Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio for a satellite interview at L.A.’s Egyptian Theatre for award season promo purposes is news. Academy voters always take Oscar-winner Scorsese (The Departed) seriously, and the movie is a gorgeous exercise in period style. DiCaprio, who has three noms under his belt and no wins, probably has a better shot at a best actor nom for contender Inception, although that too is a stretch, partly because the actor makes these roles look too easy.

Here is a cleaned up report from the Egyptian (via Twitter) from @SidGrauman:

DiCaprio was beamed in via satellite from Tel Aviv; he could see his parents in the audience, but couldn’t hear Scorsese at first, who was in London [where he is shooting Hugo Cabret]. “Marty is trapped in a Buster Keaton silent,” said DiCaprio. Suddenly the director’s voice resounded in the theatre to cheers. “It’s not 1922 anymore!” said DiCaprio. “Every time I step on a set with Marty I learn so much, about great directors of the past. It’s been a natural progression with Marty. All of our projects together have been accidents. We have a shared understanding of types of movies.”

Scorsese’s fave pic with DiCaprio is The Aviator, which was a chance to take a full character through the whole movie, he said. DiCaprio remembers that Scorsese used the same grain of film they would have had in the Howard Hughes period. DiCaprio recalled when he and Katherine Hepburn [Cate Blanchett] were doing a conversation between walls of the screening room where Hughes had been urinating in milk bottles. After ten takes of the scene, Scorsese told DiCaprio not to play it like he wanted sympathy or mothering from Kate: “You need to tell her you’re a man.”

Shutter Island is about perception, Scorsese said. “What is real and what isn’t. Is everything Teddy’s perception?” Scorsese and DiCaprio developed a numeric code to indicate how extreme Teddy would be in each scene: Teddy 1, 2, 3. Teddy getting his children out of the lake was a pivotal scene for DiCaprio, as an actor. Those moments were elevated from the script, he said, needing guidance, as he is not a father.

During the Shutter Island storm sequences, DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo couldn’t hear Scorsese and he couldn’t hear them. DiCaprio remembers that they sang Dylan songs to get through. The corridors in Shutter Island, said Scorsese, were “what the tenaments I grew up in look like, beautiful and crazy…We’re still living in the worlds the past created. And they inform the future.” He grew up with the fear of the early 50s. Scorsese believes that DiCapiro has the perfect instincts to be a screen actor: the face and eyes are always working.

For Scorsese, “my film’s editing reflect my own energy. I liked the classicism of John Ford and the truth of John Cassavetes.”

For DiCaprio, “it’s like stepping into a book to walk onto the Gangs of New York set and comprehend Five Points, walk to the dock, and all the extras look like Irish immigrants.” DiCaprio had never seen someone devote themselves to a character for an entire film as Daniel Day Lewis did in Gangs. “When we got to Cinecitta to make Gangs it was clear Daniel and I were not going to be buddies,” DiCaprio said. “He stayed in character as Billy the Butcher.” About nine months into shooting, DiCaprio recalled, he and Daniel were fighting in a mud pit and they looked at each other and just burst out laughing.

If Scorsese wants him to star in a musical, DiCaprio said, he’ll need some training. Scorsese is still looking at doing Sinatra. When asked how his 3-D Hugo Cabret is going, Scorsese said, “it’s going.” The film has a whole different geometry: Dante Feretti sets and Sacha Baron Cohen. DiCaprio believes that Scorsese’s film will be the first 3-D that goes beyond action to have solid drama. DiCaprio is set to do the J. Edgar Hoover biopic, playing the title role. “I will be working with Clint Eastwood soon–cheating on Marty.”

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