thirstory

At 46, Leonardo DiCaprio Still Can’t Be Tamed

By
Photography Bruce Weber

Published November 11, 2020

Welcome to Thirstory, where we whet your appetite with pages from the Interview archive that were almost too hot to print. This week, we have some fun with Leonardo DiCaprio out on the boardwalk in our June 1994 edition.

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Once upon a time in Hollywood Florence, Italy, Leonardo DiCaprio’s mother Irmelin, then pregnant with the future actor in 1974, was gazing at an artwork by Leonardo da Vinci when she felt a swift kick in her stomach. It was that surprise jolt that inspired her to name her future child after the legendary artist, perhaps knowing that her offspring would, too, make stuff of legends one day. Soon, indeed, a star was born, and little Leo would go on to make masterpieces not to be looked at in museums, but on the silver screen. 

Speaking to then Interview editor Ingrid Sischy for our June 1994 issue, DiCaprio said, “I always wanted to become an actor. My parents knew I was outgoing as a child, and whenever people came over I’d automatically do impressions of them as soon as they left; it was my mom’s favorite thing.” Elaborating further, the What’s Eating Gilbert Grape star, then 20, cited that his unquenchable energy was always a key component to his theatricality. “I’ve always been wild… I can’t say it any more simply than that. But acting is the only time when I truly maintain the spontaneity that I want to be present at all times.” 

This spontaneity is best epitomized in the photoshoot that accompanied his conversation with Sischy. In one frame, the star is stuffing an ice cream cone in his mouth, and in another, chowing down on corn on the cob. With an indigo-stained cotton candy tongue, Leo takes a seaside carnival by storm, karate-chopping his way through every frame while portraying energies that are as whimsical and haphazard as a ride on a tilt-a-whirl. Though nearly three decades have passed since the shoot, it’s obvious that the performer’s charisma and vigor have yet to be extinguished. The actor, who turns 46 today, has nearly 50 characters on his film roster, proving the Leonardo DiCaprio of yesterday, today, and tomorrow simply can’t be tamed.