Leonardo DiCaprio gets to work with the best of the best. He recently won his long-awaited Oscar for collaborating with Alejandro Inarritu on the grueling The Revenant. We expect him to nab another Oscar nomination next year for his work with Quentin Tarantino on Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. And he has that fantastic streak of movies that he made with Martin Scorsese that includes The Wolf of Wall Street and Gangs of New York.
But now that Scorsese is relegated to making movies for the streaming giant Netflix, how would DiCaprio – one of the last bankable movie stars in this ever-changing studio system – feel about making a movie that doesn’t play fully in theaters. The two are about to make the movie Killers of the Flower Moon together (with Robert De Niro), and Deadline asked DiCaprio how he’d feel if Marty took the movie to Netflix. The A-lister replied:
To be honest, there wouldn’t be that much that I would say to Martin Scorsese, if that’s what he wanted to do. But honestly, I’m open for anything. I’m not here to be some vestige of holding on to the old guard. It’s kind of weird given the film we’re talking about, but considering the silent film to talking transition, or something like that… you have to go with the inevitable flow of where technology and this industry takes you. What’s the use of being the last vanguard of some old form? I rarely think about those things. I just think, who can I make a great movie with? That’s it. I’m not here to make any statements.
The quote by Leonardo DiCaprio brims with self-awareness for the power of a “Movie Star” in the new distribution system. While DiCaprio’s frequent collaborator, Quentin Tarantino, fights to preserve the integrity of the theatrical model, Leo understands that his role is not in that war, but merely in finding ways to bring the best stories from the most talented storytellers to audiences. And if that means streaming, then make it happen.
When I first heard about it, I was like, please fucking make this movie. This has all of the guys I want to see in one epic master orchestra led by Marty. I don’t know if it’s him saying farewell to that genre, but it’s a completely new mind-blowing experience. This was the way it got done. You take that type of film mixed with a bunch of other films that might not get financing to the tune that they need, or might completely disappear as far as a theatrical audience is concerned. There has to be this mixture figured out where you get the at-home engagement and you get the theatrical experience. I think it’s happening, and that right now a lot of new creative ideas, and things that are out of the box and more difficult to finance, it might be better now and in the future for those than it ever was.
Throughout the interview, Leonardo DiCaprio shows proper reverence for the theatrical experience, while recognizing the need to figure out how to finance the stories that true artists want to tell. He makes comparisons to the industry transitioning from silents to talkies, and even form VHS to DVD to streaming. He’s optimistic about figuring it all out in time. How about you?