The opening of 'Shutter Island' this weekend marks the fourth collaboration between Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese -- a pairing of Hollywood powerhouses that have come to prove themselves as the movie duo of the millennium. Whether Leo's playing a special agent trapped in a psych ward (as he does in 'Shutter) or a revenge-seeking son a la 2002's 'Gangs of New York,' it's obvious that Marty has found his new muse, and that Leo -- 32 years his junior -- is willing to go wherever the acclaimed director takes him.
The opening of 'Shutter Island' this weekend marks the fourth collaboration between Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese -- a pairing of Hollywood powerhouses that have come to prove themselves as the movie duo of the millenium. Whether Leo's playing a special agent trapped in a psych ward (as he does in 'Shutter) or a revenge-seeking son a la 2002's 'Gangs of New York,' it's obvious that Marty has found his new muse, and that Leo -- 32 years his junior -- is willing to go wherever the acclaimed director takes him.
Of his working relationship with Scorsese, DiCaprio told Moviefone that "as an actor, it's been an amazing experience working with someone who I really believe is the consummate director of our time who still keeps churning out these unbelievable movies."
Dennis Lehane, the author of 'Shutter Island' whose work is coming to fruition on the big screen, says that "watching those two [Scorsese and DeNiro] together on a project I wrote is incredible," adding that "Leo's performance is unbelievable." Lehane also joked that "when you have two people like that making a movie, that leaves me very little to worry about."
And while the Leo-Marty dynamic is surely one that will continue to grow as their careers progress, Scorsese's penchant for working with Robert DeNiro from the 1970s through the '90s -- churning out films like 'Raging Bull,' 'Taxi Driver' and 'Goodfellas,' which are all equally lauded for their scope as a film as well as the performances given by DeNiro -- remains the standard-bearer for director-actor collaborations.
"That to me is the greatest cinema duo of all time, so I wouldn't dare even have that conversation," DiCaprio told Moviefone when asked if he was Scorsese's new DeNiro.
Leo may have a point. Even in Scorsese's less-lauded works with DeNiro like 'Cape Fear' and 'Mean Streets,' the trust in each other oozes onto the screen and brings out a side of DeNiro that no other directors have been able to tap. Think about his most iconic screen moments: The mohawked nut in 'Taxi Driver,' a violent and beefy Jake LaMotta in 'Raging Bull,' ... even as the psychopath Max Cady in 'Cape Fear.' It's classic DeNiro, but all done with the tutelage of Marty behind the lens.
And, in an amusing little tidbit of Hollywood history, in a recent Chicago Tribune interview Scorsese reveals DeNiro himself -- after working with DiCaprio on 'This Boy's Life' -- told the director that he should try to work with Leo because he was so impressed with him.
Scorsese definitely has a way with those lucky enough to be his go-to guys, but there have certainly been other director-actor combinations that just plain sizzled on screen. The tag-team effect has been a part of Hollywood for years (Capra-Stewart, Hitchcock-Grant), but in recent times especially, many current top directors have relied on that special person not just to drive a performance home, but also to serve as a bit of a signature.
Tim Burton and Johnny Depp
Tim and Johnny are the quintessential director and actor if there's a goth-y, dark-yet-endearing film to be made. Johnny Depp could have easily rode through Hollywood on his flawless looks and charm, but his allegiance with Burton led him into twisted roles with soul, like in 'Edward Scissorhands,' 'Sweeney Todd' and the upcoming reimagined 'Alice in Wonderland.' To cover up one of the sexiest men in Hollywood with gnarly make-up over and over again is a bold move, yet Burton has been able to do it countless times without losing any of Depp's appeal.
Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman:
Though Uma didn't make it into Quentin's Oscar-nominated 'Inglourious Basterds,' she slashed and maimed her way through both 'Kill Bill' movies and earned an Oscar-nod, in one of her more subdued performances, as Mia Wallace in his now-classic 'Pulp Fiction.' Nobody writes chatty scenes or tension like Quentin does, and if Uma's adrenaline injection scene from 'Pulp' doesn't still make you grit your teeth, you may want to check yourself for a heartbeat. Thurman and Tarantino even developed the story for the 'Kill Bill' films together; she's one half of the "Q&U" in the film's closing credits. While many have questioned if the two were romantically linked (they've both denied it), their trust in one another is unparalleled. Think about it: If anyone other than Quentin said to Uma, "So, in this scene, you're going to kill 88 people and fly around the room all while they're spraying blood everywhere," Thurman would likely have laughed the director out of the room.
Pedro Almodovar and Penelope Cruz
Of any pairing, this is the one you probably have least likely seen ... but that's a big mistake. Almodovar, the prodigious Spanish director with a flair for color, metaphors and his female characters, has relied on Cruz for four films, including the 2009 critical hit 'Broken Embraces.' Penelope has helped shine a spotlight on Almodovar's work, and vice versa, as her work in his films has boosted her acting chops and cred -- so much so that she earned her first Oscar nomination for his 2006 film 'Volver.' Much like Marty and Leo, there's a major age difference between the two (he's 25 years older), but vision and talent transcends any generational gap here.
Spike Lee and Denzel Washington
When it comes to chemistry, few have it like these two. Denzel may have earned his two Oscars for non-Spike directed films (Ed Zwick's 'Glory' and Antoine Fuqua's 'Training Day'), but it's his Oscar-nominated role as Malcolm X in the Lee-directed biopic of the influential leader that's ingrained in our brains as maybe his finest performance. Denzel's composure and chops mixed with Spike's vision led to the film's sheer enthralling factor, and sent the two onto many other successes together. 'He Got Game' was far better than it needed to be, and 2006's 'Inside Man' was such a good and smart bank heist movie with Washington absolutely commanding your attention, the two are teaming up once again for 'Inside Man 2.'
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