Leo’s lawyers work fast
Yesterday I wrote about Leonardo DiCaprio and Don’s Plum, the film he shot almost 20 years ago with his boys Tobey Maguire and Kevin Connolly that he and Tobey had blocked from North America. Click here for a refresher. As mentioned, the filmmaker decided to make Don’s Plum available online for free. Also, as warned in my post, Leo’s lawyers would probably be on it. And they were. Late yesterday, the film was taken down with this update from Dale Wheatley, the producer:
It breaks my heart to inform you that Leonardo DiCaprio has once again blocked only American and Canadian audiences from enjoying Don’s Plum. It’s a sad commentary that in 2016 we witness the suppression of film and art by one of America’s most beloved actors. If only Leonardo DiCaprio would follow in the footsteps of the director who he admires and works with more than any other, Martin Scorsese, and preserve American cinema rather than suppress it. I will appeal Vimeo’s decision to overlook my fair use copyright as an author of the material.
You can read more about Dale Wheatley’s efforts to Free Don’s Plum here.
Leo and Tobey supposedly object to Don’s Plum because they initially insisted that they only agreed to be in it if the film if was not shown in North America. Don’s Plum happened before Leo became the Master Thespian and Scorsese’s muse. Is this really about a contract and holding to promises? Or is it about the brand? If the Leo we meet in Don’s Plum was described with Marlon Brando comparisons, would he put all this effort into blocking it? Or would he be like, oh yeah, please America, I’m really modest and uncomfortable about you seeing me at the dawn of my talent but, sigh, I also don’t want to get in the way of artistic accessibility.
It’s understandable, of course, that Leo wouldn’t want this out there right now, especially since he’s preparing his Best Actor Oscar acceptance speech. For years it’s been suggested that many in the Academy have always seen him as a junior, despite the fact that he’s now over 40. The insufferable, entitled punk he “plays” in Don’s Plum would certainly remind them of that. But he already has such a huge lead over Eddie Redmayne, Bryan Cranston, and Matt Damon, this really wouldn’t set him back.
And yet, Leo doesn’t love being associated with Titanic either. He’s not as ashamed about it as he is about Don’s Plum, but for all that Titanic brought him – and you, because that’s pretty much why women have been hanging on to him for two decades – he reflects on it with… pain? That might not be the right word, but here’s what he said recently about the experience:
“It was a surreal point in my life. You become this sort of independent actor and then you are in this one film that for whatever reason connects with people on a worldwide level. And you are at this really young age and you don’t know how to react to it. My immediate reaction was to stop everything and take a break and let it settle down. But it has affected my personal life ever since. I don’t think you ever get used to the type of attention certainly the media has on you.” (Source)
That’s how Leonardo DiCaprio sees himself, then: “this sort of independent actor”. And yet he keeps shutting down an independent, experimental, improvised film he made when he was in his early 20s. Is that ironic?