Leonardo DiCaprio: The Young Lion

"Go ahead," I say. "I love this stuff."

"I thought we were gonna talk about movies," he says.

"Okay. I heard you might be playing James Dean in a movie."

"I'm not sure, I've been thinking it over for months. I need to know what the script is like, who's going to direct, those things. It's probably the hardest decision I've had to make over any film, because I respect the guy's work so much. But at the same time there's this pressure that I put on myself to ask whether or not I'm gonna do James Dean as me or as him. There's pressure if you do James Dean--people are gonna be critical of you because there are so many fanatics. But in order to do it, I have to make him my own. Because there's no way to duplicate him exactly, nobody can do that, it's impossible. The question is, how am I going to do him?"

"I don't see what you gel out of it," I say. giving my opinions freely, "If you're good, everybody says, 'Yeah, he's imitating James Dean.' And if it's not good, they say. 'Hmmm, he doesn't even look like him.'"

"Every person I talk to says that. All I know is that I'm going to do this movie Total Eclipse. which is the story of Rimbaud, the poet. And David Thewlis is going to play Verlaine."

"Verlaine was his lover, no?" I say.

"That's not what the story is about, but yes, I will have to kiss him on-screen."

My eyebrows go up and down. DiCaprio laughs. "I don't have a problem with doing a film about a relationship of love with another man," he says. "That's just acting, you know what I mean? But as far as the kissing stuff, that's really hard for me, I'm not kidding. But I've faced the fact that I'm gonna have to do it, and I'm gonna do it because I supposedly love the guy. But the movie isn't about homosexuality, although I'm sure that's what the press is gonna be all over. Have you ever kissed a girl?"

I hesitate, wanting to phrase this so he'll understand. "No," I finally say. "Not in the way you mean."

"Could you?" he asks

.

"Could I what?" I say.

"Kiss a girl." He seems to be liking asking the questions.

"For money?" I ask.

"Oh yeah, for money. Because the money's gonna be there, you're making a film. So could you?"

"'Yes," I answer, no faltering.

DiCaprio smiles. "I'll tell you about the first kiss that I had." he says. "It was the most disgusting thing in my life. The girl injected about a pound of saliva into my mouth, and when I walked away I had to spit it all out. It was awful.''

"Have you ever kissed a guy?" I ask.

He looks at me with all seriousness. "My publicist told me that if I felt uncomfortable with a question, I should just say so."

"You little shit." I shriek, "You asked me first..."

He's laughing. "I'm only kidding. I'm not uncomfortable. And no. I've never kissed a guy. But when I have to do that scene, I'll tell you what I'm gonna do. I'm going to go in there, and I'm going to walk over to him, and I'm going to slick my tongue down his fucking throat and probably swerve it around a bit. That's it. end of story. On that day I will have no fears or qualms about it."

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