Fredi Magazine Spring 2016 / Volume 2 Issue 1 - Page 18

» beyond his oscar win This is the ironic bit: He’s the perfect movie star. That makes it di cult to find the seams separating his persona and the “real” Leo. Through no fault of his own, it makes his whole public life look like a performance. But his success as an activist relies on a display of true passion; on convincing you that he really does care about the planet, that it really does occupy much of his waking thought, and that one of the reasons he has not had children is because he is genuinely afraid for their future. So how does he reconcile the two? How does he convince you that he’s for real? The answer is that he has to do things other movie stars simply wouldn’t do. WE DON’T often think about how celebrities earn their platforms, but assuming you’re a person who cares what movie stars said (which I would assume you are if you’re still reading this) it’s worth thinking about. Because if Leo had come out as an avid climate change denier, I’d wager that he wouldn’t have lost many fans. In fact, he might have even changed a few minds, which is scary to think about. That said, I also think it’s unfair to place this burden of authenticity on him. Celebrity culture has become this messy thing we gawk at from a distance: the sex tapes, the surreptitiously recorded racist rants, photos of haggard actresses stepping out of limos. Those are the things we think of when we talk about their ‘real’ lives, which makes the cleancut environment-loving Leo an anomaly. But maybe it shouldn’t be. Maybe he’s just a decent guy. I personally have no idea whether his speech at the academy awards was a performance. I also don’t know if all the other incredible things he’s done for the environment – the $45 million his foundation has contributed to organizations across the globe, his speeches to the United Nations, the documentaries, etc. – are all part of some bigger performance. Here’s what I do know for sure: the world’s biggest movie stars don’t have to do things they don’t want to do. But Leo, who is arguably the biggest, does. He takes care of his responsibilities. nd if that requires him 18 • fredi spring 2016 to get onstage at the Oscars and fudge a few of the finer points about global warming, or get on another plane after his nearly fell out of the sky, then that is what he’s going to do. Performance or not, behind it all is something he cares about deeply. "It’s a really obvious thing to say, but the more people know too much about who you really are, 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." - LEONARDO DICAPRIO Satvigeers now The Revenant is another good example of this. The whole crew rehearsed in minus 20-degree weather for months before filming began. Then there was that scene where Leo, a staunch vegetarian, chewed and swallowed a mouthful of bloody bison liver because the prosthetic didn’t look real enough. Or the scene where he was carried down a frigid river wearing close to 100 pounds of heavy furs. The process of making the film deliberately reflected the spirit of the finished product man, nature and suffering to some degree, the performance was real. Leo’s currently working on another documentary – his second – about climate change (“Original working title: Are we all f*cked?” which Rolling Stone reported and I am choosing to believe is not a joke and he’s optioned the film rights to the Volkswagen emission scandal. He’s constantly looking for better ways to tell stories about the natural world, hoping that maybe our species isn’t doomed to extinction, and that maybe he can wake us up to the fact that we will be if we don’t change. “I don’t know how to crack this yet, but I would love to do something that isn’t about waves crashing on the Empire State Building,” he told Rolling Stone. While he may hope that you’re paying attention, he’s not going to stop if you aren’t. And that, I think, is how you know he means it. Save Tigers Now is a global campaign by World Wildlife Fund and Leonardo DiCaprio to build political, financial and public support. If you want to help save the tigers visit, SaveTigersNow.org and donate! COVERSTORY //