Leonardo DiCaprio was wary of portraying his slave master character in new movie Django Unchained as a vicious and brutally violent man until his co-stars Jamie Foxx and Samuel L. Jackson convinced him it was exactly what the film called for.
The Titanic star portrays notorious plantation boss Calvin Candie, who forces his male workers to fight for sport and pushes his female servants into prostitution, and DiCaprio admits he had reservations about how far he wanted to take the character. The actor struggled to relate to anything about Candie and that made his job even more difficult onscreen.
He says, "It was this incredibly interesting horrific character. I mean, there was absolutely nothing about this man I could identify with. I hated him and it was one of the most narcissistic, racist characters I've ever read in my entire life."
DiCaprio reveals he almost chose to soften his character - but was persuaded to stick to his tough approach by Foxx and Jackson, who both play slaves, because there really were slave masters like that throughout American history.
He continues, "One of the pivotal moments for me was this initial read through, I wondered if it needed to be this violent and this atrocious to other human beings and it was Sam and Jamie who said, 'If you sugarcoat this people are gonna resent the hell out of you. You got to push this guy to the outer extreme.' That is what ignited me into going the way I did into the character. Once I read about the sugar plantations (in history), we're just scratching the surface of what happened in this country."
DiCaprio was also hesitant about using the 'N' word repeatedly, as dictated by Tarantino's script, but Jackson let him know none of his black co-stars were offended by the racially derogative term because it was the language of that time.
Foxx explains, "At one point he (DiCaprio) was feeling it was tough saying his lines, 'n**ga, n**ga' and Samuel pulled him aside and says, 'Hey motherf**ker, this is another Tuesday for us. Let's go!' They were really trying to go back to that time."