5 Places Where You Can Follow in Leonardo DiCaprio’s Footsteps
By all rights, 2016 should be a very good year for Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio. Having received Academy Award nominations for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Aviator, Blood Diamond and The Wolf Of Wall Street (as both producer and actor), there seems every chance that the 41-year-old might finally break his Oscar duck courtesy of his remarkable performances in the survivalist masterpiece The Revenant. With his cinematic journey having taken him everywhere from the Utah desert (This Boy’s Life) to suburban Sydney (The Great Gatsby), DiCaprio’s footsteps are well worth following in. Indeed, globe-trotting film-buffs could do a lot worse than make a bee-line for the following astonishing Leo-endorsed locations…
The Quick and the Dead
The town made famous the world over by The Beatles remains one of the few places in the United States where the west still feels wild. Old Tucson, in particular, is a place where you wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a Stetson-wearing shootist gallop into town and gun down the resident bad guy in the local saloon. In Sam Raimi’s spaghetti western celebration, Old Tucson provides the perfect setting for a quick draw contest that pits the pistol-packing Sharon Stone against Gene Hackman’s no-good sheriff. As for Leo, he’s perfectly cast as an up-and-coming young gun.
Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, Brussels
While some of his peers have shied away from risk-taking, DiCaprio has never been afraid of a challenge. Essaying openly gay poet Arthur Rimbaud back when he only had six film credits to his name was among his most courageous moves. If the film itself is only partially successful, it’s not the fault of our man who more than holds his own opposite David Thewlis’s Paul Verlaine. And Agnieszka Holland’s picture truly sings during the scenes set in Brussell’s Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. Oh, and if said setting feels curiously familiar, it might be because Tom Holland recently made use of it for The Danish Girl.
Romeo + Juliet
Chapultepec Castle, Mexico City
In Baz Luhrmann’s ambitious adaptation, the age-old Capulet-Montague feud is reimagined as an LA gang war. But while some sequences where shot in the City of Angels, the bulk of the movie was filmed in Mexico, a country with its own vivid gang culture. It’s also the home to spectacular places like Mexico City’s Chapultepec Castle, and it’s here that the picture finds a way back to the original text. For the 18th century stately home effortlessly brings to mind the palaces of Verona. Leo, meanwhile, is so pretty that, were we in Elizabethan times, the odds are he’d have played Juliet, not Romeo.
Ko Phi Phi Leh, Thailand
Leonardo DiCaprio wasn’t meant to star in The Beach. When they set about adapting Alex Garland’s novel, director Danny Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge had regular collaborator Ewan McGregor in mind. But then the studio insisted they needed a bigger star and the call went out for DiCaprio. Future Oscar-winner Boyle was also obliged to make the Phi Phi Leh Island setting look more exotic. If the introduction of palms upset the environmental lobby and the film disappointed the critics, this corner of Thailand remains very special. And to stand in the wet sand looking out to sea is to be reminded that heaven might actually exist on earth.
True wilderness is rare in the UK. There’s little of it anywhere in Europe, to be fair. No, to feel what it’d be like to be last person on the planet we recommend heading for Alberta, Canada, the savage land that provides the setting for Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu’s Birdman follow-up. Though the story that inspired the picture played out in South Dakota, Kananaski Country is as good a place as any to set a tale about man against the elements. If this is a harsh landscape, though, there’s beauty to be found amongst the terror, with parts of Alberta bringing to mind the ‘beautiful desolation’ of that ultimate travel destination, the moon.