People magazine - August 12, 2016

 

Baz Luhrmann Explains How Leonardo
DiCaprio 'Put Me Through the Hoops' on Gatsby

by Michael Miller

 

Leonardo DiCaprio does not play around when it comes to choosing projects.

"Leo is never easy about deciding to do anything," Baz Luhrmann, who directed the Oscar-winner in 1996's Romeo + Juliet and 2013's The Great Gatsby, recently told Elvis Duran on iHeart Radio.

"He doesn't make those decisions lightly, and he put me through the hoops in a really good way," he said of casting DiCaprio in the role. "It really was about working with Leonardo again and we were always trying to think of something to do and I had to wear him down."

Recalling how difficult the "decision making process" was for DiCaprio on Romeo + Juliet, the director said, "It was worse! It took longer! But honestly, I admire him for that because the thing about Leonardo, I mean he's a friend, our families are friends, is that he looks for joy in life, but when it comes to two things, acting and the environment, he just doesn't take it lightly."

While DiCaprio might take his time to pick a new role, Luhrmann said he knew right away the young actor was the perfect choice for his Romeo. "When I saw Leonardo, and then I thought, god that's how he should look but can he act?" he explained. "Then I found out he was the preeminent young actor."

Just when Luhrmann thought his luck couldn't get any better, DiCaprio made a surprise visit to the director's native Australia for a very special impromptu audition.

"He came down to Australia for nothing and he brought all these friends and we made a whole video of the show with other actors," Luhrmann remembered. "I won't say who, it will never be seen, I realized that I couldn't make it without him."

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