By Fred Topel | Image property of Warner Bros. Pictures
Body of Lies
Leonardo DiCaprio immerses himself in all his roles. For Body of Lies, he plays an undercover agent in the Middle East. Since his character speaks fluent Arabic, he learned his stuff, at least temporarily.
DiCaprio Immersed in a Body of Lies
"I can't remember a single word even to tell you the truth," said DiCaprio. "We had an Arabic coach there that was really helpful, because it was more so than any accent. You have to be so exact and there's different dialects of Arabic from country to country, so it was really, really difficult to tell you the truth and one of the hardest things I've ever had to do language-wise. Because it comes from the throat, it's different, and also learning about the customs and the culture and all that, so we had advisors for that sort of thing."
DiCaprio also did his research with the CIA, though they were only so forthcoming. "I got to talk to some people who worked in that field. It's a very interesting subject matter to take on, unless you're talking about the CIA in the general context of history. What they've done historically, which we're only now starting to learn about the basis of, it's shrouded in secrecy. Otherwise it wouldn't be able to function. So there's a certain leap of faith that you take with all this stuff. We did the best research that we could in that regard."
Body of Lies is both a singular story and a broader comment on the modern war. DiCaprio saw it from both sides. "To put it simply I saw my character as an operator in the middle-east that was trying to operate and do his job in the higher moral context that his boss wanted him to. There was this great conflict that was set up in the book and adapted into this script of this dilemma that this character has where he's asked consistently to do things that he doesn't believe in for the betterment of his country and this war on terror. He simultaneously is accustomed to the middle-east and their cultures and he meets up with this Jordanian intelligence officer who he grows to respect, and wants to do the best job he possible can, but he's being manipulated by both sides. Besides this being a great political piece that's pertinent to this time, it was this fantastic cat-and-mouse espionage thriller that works on its own."