What's Eating Leonardo DiCaprio?

Article excerpt

Byline: Ramin Setoodeh

It may have to do with that sinking-ship film (and all his dead wives).

Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the most respected actors of his generation (he's 35), so why is he always so pissed off in the movies? It's not for lack of admiration. Last year, Zac Efron and Chace Crawford were separately asked whose careers they'd like to emulate, and they both confessed their man crushes on Leo. A few weeks ago, The New York Times singled out DiCaprio as the rare star who escaped his tween past to become a real actor, as a kind of comfort to Twilight's Robert Pattinson. The Guardian threw its weight behind a Brit in Harry Potter, asking: "Is Rupert Grint the new Leonardo DiCaprio?"

He might be, because the old Leo has clearly moved on. DiCaprio got his start on TV's Growing Pains, earned an Oscar nod for What's Eating Gilbert Grape, and then achieved titanic stardom in 1997 in a movie about a sinking ship. But then, instead of trading on his heartthrob looks, he leveraged his box-office muscle to work with A-list directors including Danny Boyle, Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott, Sam Mendes, and now Christopher Nolan. For those of you counting at home, Inception is the third movie in a row in which DiCaprio's crazy wife suddenly dies. (The other two: Revolutionary Road and Shutter Island, which, from the first shot, echoes Inception so closely it's odd that DiCaprio made both films back to back.) DiCaprio's career has been engineered to make audiences forget Titanic, but he has swung so far in the other direction that he has alienated the female fans who made him a star. …