Sunday, October 26, 2008

Directors Love Actors 2: Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio

Collaborations: "Gangs of New York," "The Aviator," "The Departed"

To star in films directed by Martin Scorsese, as Leonardo DiCaprio has done three times now -- with a fourth, "Shutter Island," coming next year -- is to invite comparisons to Robert De Niro, who made eight pictures with Scorsese, three of which ("Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull" and "Goodfellas") are routinely mentioned in any list of the greatest films of their respective decades. Scorsese and De Niro haven't worked together since 1995's "Casino" and in that time, DiCaprio has clearly supplanted Bobby D as Scorsese's go-to leading man. Not coincidentally, a lot of what DiCaprio brings to these performances -- high-wattage intensity, a willingness to get ugly (morally and physically) on-screen -- are the same things De Niro brought to his. Still, it's hard to imagine De Niro taking on the role of eccentric billionaire industrialist Howard Hughes, which is why it's not surprising to learn that the Hughes project belonged to DiCaprio first, with Scorsese coming on board to direct after their initial success with "Gangs of New York." Even in these early stages, Scorsese's pairing with DiCaprio has already brought him things the one with De Niro did not: a Best Director Oscar (for "The Departed") as well as the director's first two movies to gross over $100 million at the domestic box office.

Leo's Scorsese films:

  • Gangs of New York (2002)
  • The Aviator (2004)
  • The Departed (2006)
  • Shutter Island (2010)
  • Sinatra? (2011?)
  • The Rise of Theodore Rosevelt? (2012?)

See also: It appears that De Niro isn't ready to pass the torch to his young competition just yet. He and Scorsese recently announced plans for their first movie together in over a dozen years: a based-on-truth mob story called "I Heard You Paint Houses." Then again, DiCaprio is currently attached to two Scorsese projects in the works: "The Wolf of Wall Street" and "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt."


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