Leonardo DiCaprio had no reservations when the time arose to work with Ridley Scott. What most compelled him, DiCaprio tells SheKnows, is his Roger Farris – a CIA agent – is a character so involved in the War on Terror that it has become his life.
DiCaprio has a long documented history in Hollywood. A child actor, think Growing Pains, who busted through stereotype and showed that in the end, talent often times rises to the top.
When he and Crowe first worked together, DiCaprio was eighteen. “We had been hand plucked to make that movie,” DiCaprio says as he leans forward. “We were both bright-eyed and bushy tailed.”
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape had brought DiCaprio his first Academy Award nomination and his next big film would forge a bond that lasts to this day off screen and on as evidenced by Body of Lies and its scorching power.
“Russell is the same guy,” DiCaprio says. “He couldn’t be more professional. He couldn’t be more of a cooler guy to hang out with. He hasn’t changed.”
Leo goes deep
Roger Farris is a complicated, multi-faceted individual. Charged with protecting America, he lives and breathes the War on Terror by living his life amongst the streets and chaos of Iraq and Jordan.
“I saw my character as an operator in the Middle East. He was trying to do his job in the higher moral context that his boss wanted him to and there was this great conflict that was set up in the book adapted by Bill (William Monahan) that was in this script. There’s this dilemma that this character has where he’s asked consistently to do things he doesn’t believe in for the betterment of his country and this War on Terror,” DiCaprio says. “Simultaneously, he is accustomed to the Middle East and their cultures.”
There is a love element as well as a professional connection that shapes Roger’s driving force and compassion for the region. “He meets up with this Jordanian intelligence officer who he grows to respect and wants to do the best job he possibly can, and he’s being manipulated by both sides,” DiCaprio says.
DiCaprio’s Ferris meets a local nurse in Jordan with whom he takes an interest. The love story may only simmer and is appropriately reserved for the culture.
Body of Lies serves as the quintessential suspenseful spy escapade. “Besides being a great political piece that is pertinent to this time, it is fantastic cat and mouse espionage thriller that warps on its own,” DiCaprio says.
DiCaprio performed most of his own stunts in Body of Lies and learned the local language. “We had an Arabic coach that was really helpful, more so than any accent. You have to be so exact with the Arabic dialects. It was really difficult to do to tell you the truth. One of the most difficult things I’ve had to do language-wise,” he admits.
Up next…the shoot gets overly emotional for DiCaprio