One of them got famous making a little movie about a sinking ship.
The other one got famous making a little movie about a taxi driver.
Now, years later, Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese, actor and director, have formed an unofficial partnership. Perched at the top of the Hollywood heap, the two have already made three notable films together: "Gangs of New York," "The Aviator" and "The Departed," which won an Oscar.
And now the duo are exploring a whole new area of the psyche: fear. In Scorsese's new film, "Shutter Island," DiCaprio plays Teddy Daniels, a federal marshal who goes to a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a woman who murdered her children.
The plot is full of twists, turns, and the unexpected: Who's good? Who's bad? Who knows? "Shutter Island" is more a psychological thriller than a horror movie.
"Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden sat down with DiCaprio and Scorsese to talk about the film.
McFadden: So it's a lot more fun to make the movies than to talk about the movies, I suspect, yes?
DiCaprio: Sometimes, yeah. And fun is not always the operative word when making a movie. In this case, I don't know, would you describe this one as fun? I wouldn't describe it as fun -- it was hard work, very rewarding and, you know, for me anyway, it uncovered a lot about the character that wasn't necessarily on the page on first glance. ... I never expected the experience to be, what it was, I really didn't.
McFadden: How was it different from what you expected?
DiCaprio: I didn't think we needed to go to the places that we went to. And it was, like I keep saying this; it was an emotional jigsaw puzzle that we needed to put all these pieces together. ... It's imperative that you are on this character's journey; it's imperative that you have a trust in him. And if that didn't fundamentally work, if you didn't believe it, then the movie would unravel.
The movie does not. DiCaprio 's character, we learn, has complex reasons for coming to Shutter Island. More than once, the character blows up -- scenes that weren't particularly difficult to act, DiCaprio said.
"Rage, no it's not hard," the actor said. "I don't think so. I like that, that kind of stuff. It's a release, because it allows me to do things that I would absolutely never normally be able to do in real life or wouldn't allow myself to do. It allows you to go to places that you, that I, for whatever decisions I've made in my life, won't allow myself to go. So it is like embodying somebody else for a period of time, and then you get to walk away from it. And then it becomes burned into celluloid and it's something that you can look at, like a book on your shelf."
DiCaprio conceded, however, that acting does exact a certain personal price.
"Every time I play one of these roles, the loss of control that you have, it's suffocating, in a way, and it's something that -- it's so dark -- it's something that you don't like to dwell on too much. So for me, you know, playing these roles, as much as you don't want to let any of that stuff penetrate your real life, there was a mood that I had throughout this entire film that was very somber, there was a very somber feeling on set, especially shooting in an abandoned mental ward as well. Literally, you could feel the stories around you."