Leonardo DiCaprio Photo: Magnus Sundholm for the HFPA
  • Golden Globe Awards

Nominee Profile 2020: Leonardo DiCaprio “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”

Leonardo DiCaprio immediately identified with the character of Rick Dalton that Quentin Tarantino had created in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Even though his own career trajectory has taken a completely different course, he felt an instant connection with the character – this washed-up actor felt quite familiar. “This guy is on the outskirts of times that are changing and he is left behind,” says Leonardo DiCaprio about Rick Dalton. “It’s intrinsically somebody that I knew growing up in the industry. In a lot of ways, he’s a man dealing with his own mortality. We are in an industry where you become sort of immortalized by film and television but he’s realizing that the culture and the industry have sort of passed him by.”Quentin Tarantino set his film in 1969, the year that the Manson Family murders took place on 10050 Cielo Drive in Beverly Hills, where most notably the pregnant actress Sharon Tate was brutally murdered. Quentin Tarantino weaves this culturally groundbreaking event in US history into his (Hollywood) story of Rick Dalton and his stuntman, Cliff Booth, played by Brad Pitt. He places Rick Dalton next door to the house of Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and Roman Polanski (Rafal Zawierucha) and takes a lot of liberties in his depiction of the historic events.“Quentin has a very unique process,” says DiCaprio, who also worked with the director on Django Unchained in 2012. “There are few people in this world that have collective knowledge about not only cinematic history but music and television. It’s almost like tapping into a computer database and the wealth of knowledge is unfathomable and it keeps coming and coming. In a way, I really think this movie is his love story to his industry and he’s put at the helm of it two characters that are outsiders.”The movie is set in a time where there is a cultural shift from hippie innocence to a bleaker sense of reality, but at the center of the film is the Dalton-Booth relationship: the bond between an actor and his stuntman.“Quentin gave us this incredible back story for our characters,” explains DiCaprio. “He literally came to us with a bible of their work together, their friendship together, what they’ve been through in the industry, how they’re now on the outskirts of this sort of new era in Hollywood and they are outsiders.”DiCaprio’s career is not on the outskirts of Hollywood. With his Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Rick Dalton, he has received a total of 12 Golden Globe nominations. DiCaprio’s first nomination was in 1994 for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and he has won a total of three Golden Globes for 2005’s The Aviator, 2014’s The Wolf of Wall Street and 2016’s The Revenant.“I didn’t need to have lived Rick Dalton’s life to understand what he was going through,” stresses a very successful DiCaprio. “I understood it because I think there are attributes of self-doubt in him that are universal in all of us.  Whether I have freakouts like him or not, that’s a different story.”