The best thing about acting is that I get to lose myself in another character and actually get paid for it. It's a great outlet. As for myself, I'm not sure who I am. It seems that I change every day.
People want you to be a crazy, out-of-control teen brat. They want you miserable, just like them. They don't want heroes; what they want is to see you fall.
On working with Martin Scorsese in "Gangs of New York": He's a perfectionist, obsessed with detail. That's why he went over budget and over schedule.
You can either be a vain movie star, or you can try to shed some light on different aspects of the human condition.
It's a really obvious thing to say, but the more people know too much about who you really are, and it's a fundamental thing, the more the mystery is taken away from the artist, and the harder it is for people to believe that person in a particular role.
On fame: As soon as enough people give you enough compliments and you're wielding more power than you've ever had in your life, it's not that you become an arrogant little prick, or become rude to people... but you get a false sense of your own importance and what you've accomplished. You actually think you've altered the course of history.
I don't really have many extravagances. I don't fly private jets and I don't have bodyguards and I don't buy crazy things. I have a couple of houses here and there. I bought a very expensive watch, and I am going to buy a really expensive movie poster, the original for "The Thief of Bagdad". I love movie posters.
On turning 30: I kind of feel like the same person except more time has gone by. I hate to say that I feel like an adult now. I have to admit I wish I was still 18. After all, even through the time while I was representing that wild kid, I really wasn't. I was just living my life. I was just not making movies at the time.
On Martin Scorsese: Martin has brought so much to the art form of film, and he is not the type of person who would be upset by not receiving an Oscar, although it is a practical joke that he has not won an Academy Award after all these years. Whatever opinions critics will have of "The Aviator", I really think that this is a great piece of art: once again, he has made a great classic film.
The great thing about turning 30 in this business is that you get to perpetuate being young or old as long as we want.
On whether there are any aspects of fame he dislikes: You kidding? I feel very fortunate. A lot of people would love to be in my position. There are so many people out there who are suffering trillions of times more than I could ever suffer, and would love to be me. I am a lucky little bastard.
Yes, I can play younger than my age. But I can play characters older than I am, too. I'm not an actor who can just play the kid.
I think people read the tabloids because they want to see you eating a burger, or out of your makeup or doing something stupid because they just want to see that you're like everyone else. And that's okay. I don't want to catch myself anymore saying that my life is hard, because the good far outweighs the bad in my life. And it's easier to focus on those things, on the things that are important.
You learn after you've been in the business for a while that it's not getting your face recognized that's the payoff. It's having your film remembered.
I lived in Hollywood and, ironically, I didn't know you could just go out and get an agent and go on auditions and try and become an actor, I thought it was like a Masonic thing, like a blood line you had to belong to - until I was 13. Then I realised what you had to do. It is the one thing I know I want to do for the rest of my life.
[on losing out on the Oscar to Jamie Foxx during the 2005 Academy Awards] I wasn't surprised that Jamie got the award. But I knew that cameras would be stuffed up my face so I had my response ready. Anyone who says they don't practice is a liar.
I was behind a woman at the checkout counter who was looking at the magazines. She turned to me and goes, "There he is again, that Leonardo DiCaprio. Don't you wish he'd just disappear?" I said (to myself), this is the moment where I either go, "Do you know who I am?" or put my hat further down, pay for my corn-nuts and get out of there... I choose to avoid that. (2005)
My first date was with a girl named Cessi. We'd had a beautiful relationship over the phone all summer long. Then she came home and we met to go out for the first time to the movies. When I saw her I was petrified. I couldn't even look her in the eye to talk to her.
I don't know if I'm ever getting married. I'm probably not going to get married unless I live with somebody for 10 or 20 years. But these people took a chance and they did it. We don't have the guts that Romeo did.
As a little kid growing up in Hollywood, I was called 'a little crazy'. And now I guess I'm still that way.
I cheated a lot, because I just couldn't sit and do homework. I usually sat next to someone extremely smart.
I like to help the whales, the otters, and the dolphins. When I'm acting and I take a break, the first thing on my list is spending time by the sea.
My mom and I lived at Hollywood and Western, a drug-dealer and prostitute corner. It was pretty terrifying. I got beat up a lot. I saw people have sex in the alleys. I remember I was five years old, and this guy with a trench coat, needles and crack cornered me. Early on, seeing the devastation on my block, seeing heroin addicts, made me think twice about ever getting involved in drugs. It's evil. Once you take that step and experiment, drugs can take over your life. You are not yourself anymore. That's something I never wanted. I didn't have a lot of friends growing up. It was kind of just me and my parents. But because of them, the neighborhood did not have a bad effect on me. My dad introduced me to artists, and every few months we'd go to some hippie doo-dah parade as Mudmen in our underwear, carrying sticks and covered in mud. My mother did everything to get me into the best schools she could find.
When a role for a young guy is being offered to me, I think of River Phoenix. It feels like a loss.
When I was young, I used to have this thing where I wanted to see everything. I used to think, "How can I die without seeing every inch of this world?".
On his life: What I would do in order to be popular was, I'd put myself on line and joke around and be funny, and I was always known as the crazy kid.
Bridget Hall and I hung out for a week. The whole thing was blown out of proportion.
[on marriage] I don't have the guts that Romeo did.
On love: I like girls who are intelligent, somewhat funny, and pretty with a nice personality.
It's a weird adjustment living alone, because you don't realize how much you really miss Mumsie until she's not there.
Dark green is my favorite color. It's the color of nature and the color of money and the color of moss!
I'm not really the quiet type, although some people think I am. But I'm the rebel type in the sense that I don't think I'm like everyone else. I try to be an individual.
I'm absolutely clean. I've never tried anything. That's not a lie!
I'm not the sort of person who tries to be cool or trendy. I'm definitely an individual.
I don't have emotions about a lot of things. I rarely get angry, I rarely cry. I guess I do get excited a lot, but I don't get sad and enormously happy. I think a lot of people who talk about all that crap are lying. Right now I'm just trying to maintain happiness - that's all I really care about. Anyway, when you're my age and your hormones are kicking in, there's not much besides sex that's on your mind.
I hate speaking in front of a large audience. I don't know where it came from... but its just this gut-wrenching fear of slipping up and doing something horrible.
One of my passions is to meet people and then imitate them. I love doing that.
I have the same problem as Edward Furlong. I'm so thin!
I'm nothing like Romeo in real life.
I'm shy, but when the time comes to be wild, I'm fun-loving, adventurous, and mysterious.
It's tricky stuff. If you're not perfect in every film, then people say "See, he was just lucky in one role.".
On his career: I admit I've done a few lousy roles in the beginning of my career, like my role in "Critters 3". But at that age, you'll do anything for attention!
People want you to be a crazy out-of-control teen brat. They want you to be miserable, just like them. They don't want heroes. What they want is to see you fall.
Everywhere I go, somebody is staring at me. I don't know if people are staring because they recognize me or because they think I'm a weirdo.
On rumors: I've heard some pretty bad rumors... that I'm gay. If I want to go to a party with a few male friends, it doesn't mean that I'm gay. I don't see why I can't have friends of both sexes without rumors being spread about me. It's crazy.
People always like to make up stories. I am not planning on getting married. Then again, I might wake up tomorrow and decide to get married!
If you hear of any incident about me - a fight, a change of clothes, a little extra gel in the hair, don't believe it till you talk to me.
I hate being selected as 'Babe of the Month' and being called 'hunk'.
Fame is not the worst thing. I went to dinner the other night, and the girls in the restaurant ignored me. It was so annoying.
I insist on keeping a level head. I've maintained the same exact home life that I've had for 20 years. All I see is more people looking at me than before. But, you know, who cares? You just can't obsess yourself with this fame stuff.
My God, no! I hate this whole hunk thing! I feel when I see myself in that, and these other cute faces, that I'm just part of this meat factory, like, "Wow! Here's the hunk of the month! This month we're shoving Leonardo DiCaprio down your throat! Isn't he cute. Let's put him on the cover and we'll sell so many more magazines..." That's definitely not what I want to be, and I've tried real hard to get away from that whole situation.
If you can do what you do best and be happy, you're further along in life than most people.
The main thing for me right now is just to live my life with my family and friends. They treat me like Leo, not 'Leonardo, Master Thespian'. That's all I need to keep my sanity.
The last thing I want to turn into is a fat Hollywood jerk. I was brought up without much money and I was happy. I don't think that I will strive for money or success and end up greedy or big-headed. That only leads to unhappiness. I can still be down-to-earth and do this job as long as I enjoy it.
On success: I've just been jolting along from one film to another... Now, it's sort of a shock to realize what I've achieved.
Portraying emotionally ill characters gives me the chance to really act.
I'm just starting to scratch the surface of what makes me happy, and it has taken me a while to admit that acting like a child and a jerk is fun.
On acting: Don't think for a moment that I'm really like any of the characters I play. That's why it's called acting.
On "Titanic": It was pretty disheartening to be objectified like that. I wanted to stop acting for a little bit. But it changed my life in a lot of ways, but at the same time, I can't say that it didn't give me opportunities. It made me, for the first time, in control of my career.
[Told to thousands at the New Jersey concert for Live Earth] A consensus has emerged in our scientific community that global warming is no longer merely a theory but a reality, a crisis with truly global implications for planet Earth and all of us who share it.
On working with Jack Nicholson on "The Departed": One table scene in particular, I remember coming in, we did it one way, and I remember Jack speaking to Marty (Martin Scorsese), saying that he didn't feel he was intimidating enough. And then, the next day we came in and the prop guy told me, "Be careful, he's got a fire extinguisher, a gun, some matches, and a bottle of whisky!".
In this business nothing is as dangerous and as feared as loneliness. You shoot films in the most remote areas of the world; you're separated from your family and your friends. And at some point you're in your hotel room looking at yourself in the mirror and you realize how lonely you are and how far you are from leading a normal life. That is quite a punch in the gut.
I respect Russian culture and Russian cinema, especially Eisenstein, (Andrei) Tarkovsky, and Sergei Parajanov.
[on one of his favorite movies, "East of Eden"] - I remember seeing the hunger in James Dean's eyes. I watched it five times in a row.
I was 18 when I got to work with Meryl Streep. I remember going over my lines with her off-camera, looking at her and thinking to myself, "What is going on here? How is this going to look good?" Then when I sat in the theater, it was, "Oh, my God, she's the only person who looks completely natural." Meryl may be the greatest actor in the world.
[on filming one scene in "The Departed" with Jack Nicholson where the veteran actor wanted to take a few extra steps to make sure Leo seemed "sincerely threatened"] - I come on the set the next day and hear we're doing the scene over for lighting reasons. But then a prop guy comes over to me and says, "Just to let you know, there were some props Jack asked for. I had to get him a fire extinguisher, a bottle of whiskey, a lighter, and a gun.".
Out of any actor, I can't think of anyone who's got more memorable moments in cinema than Jack Nicholson. Jack never takes a single line straight on. Never takes an emotion written in the script at face value. He brings terror into what you thought was supposed to be a light moment and makes a light moment out of a cutthroat vicious line. He flips everything on its side.
[on not being comfortable with fame] - Just because you've done a good performance once, doesn't mean you're always going to be good. That's why some of the greatest actors in the world have gone a little bit nuts. They're saying to themselves, "What happened? You used to love me?" It's an easy trap to fall into. You just have to realize that when you're hot, you're hot, and when you're not, you're not.
[on Martin Scorsese] - If you'd asked me, at 16, the director I wanted to work with, it would have been Marty. Marty's not afraid to sit there for days on end just to get a scene right. Most important, I trust him, which makes my job as an actor a lot easier.
[on working on "Shutter Island"] - ... we explored what the mentally ill had to face in the days when mental hospitals were called insane asylums. It was really very traumatic, and I don't say that about a film very often. I went to places and unearthed some things that I didn't think I was capable of. It was like an emotional layer cake that just kept getting deeper and deeper.
[on proving himself] - Probably the only thing I knew with complete clarity was that I wanted to be an actor. But there was a lot of rejection early on, and so it never felt like, Hey, I've got something here. There was always an element of me that needed to prove something to myself. It's something I don't want to get rid of, because it's what drives me. I'm never settled and I'm never satisfied.
[on the nude scene in "Revolutionary Road"] - Kate Winslet is one of my dearest friends. We have the ultimate trust in each other and the best of intentions for what we want to do. I knew Kate before Sam Mendes [her husband] even met her. So on the outside, it may seem strange to do a sex scene with a woman while her husband is directing. But it didn't feel that way to me. When the scene was about to start, Kate said, in front of the crew, "Wait, wait, this is totally weird". She turned to both Sam and I and said, "Are you guys okay?" We both looked at each other and said, Yeah, we're totally fine. She said, "It's even weirder that you're both totally fine".
[on Scorsese versus Spielberg] - The only other person who knows as much about film as Martin Scorsese is Steven Spielberg. People would always ask me, What are the differences between Spielberg and Scorsese? All I could find myself talking about was the similarities.
[on risks and really growing up] - What you risk just to have thrills when you're in your twenties is absurd. It's all part of that process of doing things that are daring to be accepted by your peers - and it's absolutely insane. You can enter a never-ending vapid hole trying to catch the next exciting moment without ever stopping to appreciate it. It can be a never-ending process of chasing something that isn't there. I know it's a cliché, but I'm happy to be alive. I went skydiving and my chutes didn't open. Two of them.
[on growing up] - The earliest memories I have are jumping up onstage before concerts in downtown L.A. and trying to get on the mic and break-dance, or do imitations of my mother's friends or my father's friends, or be a comic in class. I was the most insane child you can imagine, pretty intolerable to be around. High-octane energy all the time, never wanting to focus on schoolwork.
[on fame after "Titanic"] - It wasn't the era of penetrating Internet paparazzi that we have now. But my name wasn't me anymore. I was sort of this thing. Kate felt it, too. But a lot of the attention was on me because of the teenage girls who repeatedly went to see the movie. I had the blond hair, and I was Jack Dawson, this heroic figure. So I set up everything in my personal life to rebel against that image in order to strip it down. I had a lot of fun stripping it down. But ultimately, that knocked me a few rungs down the ladder.
[on James Cameron] - Jim knows exactly what he wants. Needless to say, when somebody felt a different way on the set of "Titanic", there was a confrontation. Jim had it out with them right there in front of everybody. He lets you know exactly how he feels. But he's of the lineage of John Ford. He knows what he wants his film to be. I remember sitting in a theater after it was done and being in awe. He got what he wanted.
[on the night River Phoenix died] - When I was eighteen, River Phoenix was far and away my hero. Think of all those early great performances - "My Own Private Idaho". "Stand by Me". I always wanted to meet him. One night, I was at this Halloween party, and he passed me. He was beyond pale - he looked white. Before I got a chance to say hello, he was gone, driving off to the Viper Room, where he fell over and died. That's a lesson.
[on what surprised him about "Shutter Island"] The thing that surprised me the most about this material is as many different genres that are mixed in, whatever Martin Scorsese did stylistically with this film, at it's very essence it is a film about the human condition and human trauma and the dark side of who we are.
[on his influence in Hollywood and producing] I am never going to act again, yeah (laughs). No, I have a production company that all stemmed from 10 years ago wanting to be able to develop my own material because I just wasn't finding things I got excited about. It all stemmed from "Gangs of New York" and searching that out and saying, "Well, if I was able to search this out and I got to be able to work with Martin Scorsese on this project, there has got to be other projects out there that maybe the studios aren't paying attention to.".
[on being one of the industry's top earners and his thoughts on salaries given to A-list actors] Yes, I think it is absolutely justified. A lot of actors draw in a certain audience, it's the truth. You put Brad Pitt or George Clooney or Johnny Depp or all these guys who are able to finance movies because of their name. With somebody else it wouldn't possibly get the same attention... People who are able to bring in a certain audience deserve to get paid for that not just the studios.
[on if "Shutter Island" gave him any nightmares] - I never had nightmares. It took me back to the one time I really remembered my dreams because I usually don't. But when I used a nicotine patch when I was trying to quit smoking, I did have bloodcurdling nightmares of mass murders, and I woke up in the middle of the night and had to take the patches off. I guess I had moments like that in the film.
[2010 - On relaxing outside films] I go out and have a drink every once in a while. Ooh, I know that's controversial, isn't it? I sometimes go on a vacation, too. I take what I do very seriously, and when I'm on the set that's all I focus on, so my vice is to hang out with my friends and talk about absolutely nothing of importance whatsoever and act like a complete idiot because I've got to filter out a lot of the serious stuff I'm dealing with all the time. It's like therapy to just be a complete idiot with my friends and it's fantastic.
[on making "Shutter Island"] Usually when I'm on a movie set, I'm able to detach myself from the process at the end of the day and go home and learn my lines for the next day, but this situation was a whole lot different. There were a couple of weeks when I was in a hole and it was the deepest I've ever gone with a character, emotionally.
[on making "Inception" and director Christopher Nolan] I don't know what I'm supposed to say about it, but it's Chris Nolan delving into dream psychoanalysis and also making a high octane, action-filled, surreal film that is all spawned from his mind. He wrote the entire thing, and it all made sense to him. It didn't make much sense to us when we were doing it, and we had to do a ton of detective work to try to figure out what the movie was and what we were doing from day to day, but, thank God, we had somebody who knew what he was doing.
(2010) These last couple of films have taken a lot out of me so I don't know what I'm going to do next. I have no idea and it's kind of a cool place to be. This year is going to be the year of really taking care of myself because I've reached 35 and I've taken a lot of things seriously, maybe too seriously at times, so I'm going to make sure that whatever I do next and whatever choices I make are really right for me. And we'll see where that takes me.
[on filming in Mozambique for "Blood Diamond"] Forget weather-wise. Condition-wise, there are a lot of hardships for the people that live in Mozambique, and there's a lot of situations going on with poverty and AIDS and unsanitary water. You name it. But the most intriguing thing I found about shooting in Mozambique was the triumph and adaptability of the human spirit: People were still filled with so much joy. They were literally dancing in the streets every night. It was an amazing thing to see.
(2010) I want to be an actor just like my role models, Robert De Niro, for example. Being discreet in his private life has allowed him to be even more credible in different roles on the big screen.
[on his post-"Titanic" romantic life] - I had better success meeting girls before "Titanic". My interactions with them didn't have all the stigma behind it, not to mention there wasn't a perception of her talking to me for only one reason.
[on how he dealt with post-"Titanic" youth] I got to be wild and nuts, and I didn't suffer as much as people do now, where they have to play it so safe that they ruin their credibility. I didn't care what anyone thought. It was also about avoiding the tornado of chaos, of potential downfall. My two main competitors in the beginning, the blond-haired kids I went to audition with, one hung himself and the other died of a heroin overdose... I was never into drugs at all. There aren't stories of me in a pool of my own vomit in a hotel room on the Hollywood Strip.
During Gilbert Grape ["What's Eating Gilbert Grape"] I didn't know where I was gonna go as an actor so I didn't know what types of movies I wanted to do. I just felt like doing a movie is doing a movie. I get money and fame, and that's great, and I can act and have fun. And I was up for a movie called "Hocus Pocus" with Bette Midler, and I knew it was awful, but it was just like, "Okay, they're offering me more and more money. Isn't that what you do? You do movies and you get more and more money." But something inside of me kept saying, "Don't do this movie." And everyone around me was saying, "Leonardo, how could you not take a movie?" And I said to myself, "Okay, I'll audition for this movie Gilbert Grape. If I don't get that, I'll do Hocus Pocus." I found myself trying so hard, investing so much time and energy in Gilbert Grape, I worked so damn hard at it and I finally got it, and it was like such a weight off my shoulders.
(On landing "This Boy's Life") When I was fifteen, I got this amazing opportunity to audition for this plum role opposite Robert De Niro and Ellen Barkin in This Boy's Life. Before that, it was The New Lassie or a Bubble Yum commercial. They were using the mustard-jar scene in the audition. De Niro was going up to the kids with this almost empty mustard jar and cramming it into their faces, really pushing the kids' buttons. The scene was being used to see if the kid could stand up to De Niro, and it was hard not to be overwhelmed. When he started bludgeoning me, I completely overcompensated. He said, "Is this empty? Is this empty?" I slapped the jar out of his hand, got right up in his face, and screamed at the top of my lungs, "Noooooooo!" It was the most god-awful way to do the scene. I was supposed to be the victim, not the antagonizer, and there was complete silence. De Niro looks at me and goes, "Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh", in that way only De Niro can laugh. "That was good. That was goooood. I like that. A little over-the-top but good". My audition was supposed to go on, but they just stopped it. Even though De Niro said he liked it, I left the room thinking, Oh, shit, I'm a laughingstock. I'm buried. I'm done. Getting that part felt like winning the lottery. Sometimes you've got to go to the wrong place just to show that you're not afraid to go there.
(2010) Probably the only thing I knew with complete clarity was that I wanted to be an actor. But there was a lot of rejection early on, and so it never felt like, Hey, I've got something here. There was always an element of me that needed to prove something to myself. It's something I don't want to get rid of, because it's what drives me. I'm never settled and I'm never satisfied.
(2010) I was the most insane child you can imagine, pretty intolerable to be around. High-octane energy all the time, never wanting to focus on schoolwork.
[on playing Jack Dawson in "Titanic"] I'm not haunted by it but it certainly follows me. I've been to the Amazon and people with no clothes on - and I'm not exaggerating - know about that film. I've accepted it.
When I can't immediately define the character and there's an element of mystery to it and still a lot to be explored, that's when I say yes. I like those kinds of complicated characters.
There are a lot of pitfalls to success, and one is not listening to criticism. One of the the most important things you can do is hear criticism of yourself and embrace it, whether it be - in my case - artistic or personal.
[on what drew him to portraying Jay Gatsby] The idea of a man who came from absolutely nothing, who created himself solely from his own imagination. Gatsby's one of those iconic characters because he can be interpreted in so many ways: a hopeless romantic, a completely obsessed wacko or a dangerous gangster, clinging to wealth.
[on playing the plantation owner in "Django Unchained"] There was absolutely nothing about this man that I could identify with. I hated him. It was one of the most narcissistic, self-indulgent, racist, horrible characters I've ever read in my entire life.
You learn, after you've been in the business for a while, that fame is empty and pointless.
[on "Charlie Rose"] There's going to be a wider gap between the independent genre filmmaking and the big budget, sort of spectacle movies. And the movies that are a hybrid of those two things - that have deep content in them and that also have some scope - will kind of dissolve away. I see that happening more and more in the industry, it's either like: "This is a regurgitation of films you've seen a thousand times that work... Or you can take a chance and do a really low budget, small movie and see how it turns out.".
[on "The Wolf of Wall Street"] I think it's amazing somebody like Martin Scorsese is still making films that are vital and talked about, and have an element of controversy about them and are appealing to people of my generation. We grew up watching his films and he's still making stuff that's punk rock. It's an amazing achievement.
[on working with Martin Scorsese] I grew up a fan of the Golden Age of cinema which, to me and all of my friends, was the '70s and the great age of films where the director had control. We got to see some of the most memorable films and performances of all time during that era and everything since then has always been a reversion and comparison back to those films. Any one of my friends, whenever we talk about movies, we always reference something from the '70s. And to me, the greatest cinematic partnership maybe of all time, and certainly of that time period, was De Niro and Scorsese. In a lot of ways, they were a part of my upbringing and my childhood, as far as being a fan of cinema. So to get to work with him, being of completely different generations -- we just have a shared understanding that we're out there to do the same thing. I think that's taken a while to truly understand on his part -- not a while but, I mean, it's been a culmination of more and more trust with one another. And, in a lot of ways, I think ["The Wolf of Wall Street"] is the result of being able to work with each other on our films before it. We were not going to try to do something in a traditional sense in this film. We'd been given the opportunity to make a film that was going to hopefully be outrageous and daring and push the envelope a little bit. So it wasn't necessarily a dialogue about what type of movie we wanted to do after the experiences that we've had together. At this point, it was just about us reminding one another, with very specific character decisions or plot points. But, just to backtrack a little, I understand his mentality, too. You have to understand: This man is the greatest admirer of cinema as an art form of anyone you'll ever meet, and there's nothing in his life that he doesn't reference cinema to. He lives and breathes this. He's got such an admiration and appreciation for what's been done in the past. And he's got that hunger in him, as well, and that excitement for us to just be able to do the type of films that we want to do. The fact that, through the years now, we've trusted one another to know that we're not doing anything for our own self-interest -- it's more about making the best, most original movie we can -- has been an incredible experience for me. And I don't stop learning. I mean, every time I'm on set with him I learn more about the reason I make movies and the reason I'm an actor than anything I've ever done.
[on getting awards attention for "The Wolf of Wall Street"] Of course it would be meaningful. I think everyone wants to be recognized by their peers, absolutely, without question. But, the truth of the matter is you learn very quickly you have absolutely no control of what critics or audiences are going to think. You really just have to do everything you can to make the best film. That's the one thing that I do know. But, of course, you know, I would love for this film on all fronts to get some attention because there's only been two films in my entire career that I've really developed myself, really championed to get financed and got a director involved with, and that's been "The Aviator" and this. And so, in a lot of ways -- and I hate to use the term -- those two are my "babies." Those were the films that I really did everything I possibly could to get made in the right way. And I think that they're very difficult movies to pull off, especially with this one, a film that opens yourself and the movie up to a lot of criticism. So to get any kind of recognition would be amazing for this, absolutely.
[on Jordan Belfort, the character he plays in "The Wolf of Wall Street"] He was like a modern-day emperor Caligula. He held nothing back and was unapologetic about his lust for wealth and mad consumption.
[on his childhood] There was a major prostitution ring on my street corner, crime and violence everywhere. It really was like "Taxi Driver" in a lot of ways. I grew up very poor and I got to see the other side of the spectrum. I've never done drugs. That's because I saw this stuff literally every day when I was three or four years old. So Hollywood was a walk in the park for me. I'd go to parties and it was there, and yeah, there's that temptation.
[on why he doesn't want to direct films] I've been so blessed to work with some great filmmakers, that I'm probably cursed to probably ever work as a director myself. I don't think I would be able to compare to what I've seen. There are so many things that come into play when you make a movie. I really don't know how they do it. The truth is, the one thing I regret, if anything, in my long career having worked with the likes of Alejandro [Alejandro González Iñárritu] and Marty [Martin Scorsese] is not be able to be a voyeur and stand aside and watch what they do, because I'm only concerned about what the hell I'm doing every single day. (...) But it would have been wonderful to have someone document all the great experiences I had and learn from the decisions. That's what you have to look for when you work with these directors. It's these tiny little decisions that change something from being mundane. 
[on Kate Winslet - 2016 Golden Globes red carpet] She's my favorite actress in the industry.
[28 February, 2016, his Oscar acceptance speech] Thank you all so very much. Thank you to the Academy, thank you to all of you in this room. I have to congratulate the other incredible nominees this year for their unbelievable performances. The Revenant was the product of the tireless efforts of an unbelievable cast and crew I got to work alongside. First off, to my brother in this endeavor, Mr. Tom Hardy Tom, your fierce talent on screen can only be surpassed by your friendship off screen. To Mr. Alejandro Innaritu, as the history of cinema unfolds, you have forged your way into history these past 2 years... thank you for creating a transcendent cinematic experience. Thank you to everybody at Fox and New Regency...my entire team. I have to thank everyone from the very onset of my career...to Mr. Jones for casting me in my first film to Mr. Scorsese for teaching me so much about the cinematic art form. To my parents, none of this would be possible without you. And to my friends, I love you dearly, you know who you are. And lastly I just want to say this: Making The Revenant was about man's relationship to the natural world. A world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history. Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow. 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. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this. For our children's children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed. I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted. Thank you so very much.
(2016) I've been very lucky to have achieved a lot of the things that I dreamed of achieving as a young man. But, at the end of the day - and I truly believe this - it is not about achieving great wealth or success. Because they don't bring happiness ultimately. They really don't. What matters is whether or not you've fulfilled the idea of having led an interesting life, whether you've contributed in some way to the world around you.
(2016, on his parents) I'm completely indebted to them in every single way... They listened to me, you see. They listened to their kid saying, "This is what I want to do," and they supported me unconditionally; they made me feel that all my dreams were within reach. Now I know a lot of people who have grown up in much better-off families, with much more solid family structures, who haven't in any way had that level of love in their lives.
(2016) I get unhappy doing things that I'm not passionate about, because I feel like I'm squandering this incredible gift I've been given to finance films. As soon as my name alone was enough to make this happen, I vowed to myself that I was going to work with directors who were changing cinema, doing something important, you know? This goes back to when I was a teenager, feverishly watching movies like Taxi Driver and Apocalypse Now and saying to myself, someday, I'm going to be a part of films like this.
[on director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu] He doesn't take any half-measures. He doesn't know moderation. He doesn't know compromise. He doesn't say "no". These are the things that make him unique. Not many filmmakers do what he does, and a lot of that process is about leaving a lot of room for trial and error.
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. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this. For our children's children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.
I am almost 40 years old now, so I'd hope that I wouldn't have to answer to them. I think that the perception of me is still the child actor, so that, you know, people would wonder what my parents thought. But to tell you the truth, it didn't faze them whatsoever. I mean, I was reading underground comics in the back of my dad's station wagon that were much more gratuitous than this at 10 years old, so nothing really affected them on that level.