Leonardo DiCaprio Was Very Impressed By the Work Ethic of Australian Actors Involved With ‘The Great Gatsby’ — ‘We Should Be Ashamed’

Leonardo DiCaprio has worked with some of the best actors in the world, from Robert De Niro to Daniel Day-Lewis. However, despite having shared the screen with several Hollywood heavyweights, he most impressed by the talent of lesser-known actors in Australia.

According to DiCaprio, Australia’s isolated film industry gives Australian actors a hunger to succeed that’s quite rare. 

Leonardo DiCaprio was hesitant to ‘take on The Great Gatsby’

Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire at premiere of The Great Gatsby | Toni Anne Barson/FilmMagic

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DiCaprio is known for being selective with his roles. He’s careful about attaching his name to projects and was hesitant to sign on for The Great Gatsby, believe it or not. However, his hesitancy was for a good reason. 

“It was completely the, you know, taking on Great Gatsby,” DiCaprio said. “Jesus Christ. I mean, it’s an incredible undertaking, but it was like a theater group …” 

The production team heavily relied on ‘Trimalchio,’ an earlier version of ‘The Great Gatsby’

Adapting a feature film from a book is never an easy task. DiCaprio and the production team relied heavily on The Great Gatsby book for the film’s material, but they didn’t use the version most people think of. 

Instead, they took inspiration from Trimalchio, an earlier edition of The Great Gatsby

“For me, it was about going back to Trimalchio to find Fitgerald’s original intent and motivation with Gatsby,” DiCaprio said. “What he meant with certain lines … What he was saying to Daisy when he would sometimes sound obscure in The Great Gatsby, Trimalchio was a lot more overt and a lot more spelled out …”

Leonardo DiCaprio was impressed by the work ethic of Australian Actors 

DiCaprio has worked with some of the best actors in the world, from Robert De Niro to Daniel Day-Lewis. 

“What I was blown away by, by doing that movie—and this is the truth—was the level of commitment of the actors in Australia,” DiCaprio said. “I mean, we should be ashamed.”

According to DiCaprio the work ethic of Australian actors is what makes them so great. Their distance from Hollywood gives them a drive to improve unlike many of the actors found in America. 

“These people out there, they’re isolated on this continent and they know about Hollywood, but they all work four times as hard,” DiCaprio said. “It’s amazing how hungry they are to be a part of the industry, and they’re just constantly focused on—everyone around us every single day was just in there. Into the novel, reading everything, working their ass off. I was so impressed … I can’t say enough about them, really.”

Leonardo DiCaprio says isolation plays a role in Australian actors’ work ethic

DiCaprio walked back his remarks that American actors should be ashamed in comparison to Australian actors in the same interview. However, he did emphasize how the isolation of Australian actors likely plays a role in their working habits. 

“Not that we should all be ashamed, but it was inspiring to see a place that was sort of isolated on the other part of the world, that wants to be a part of the American movie industry,” DiCaprio clarified. “And the ferocity that they had, to sort of stand out.”