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LEONARDO DiCaprio in Inception




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Only in Hollywood
The truth about Leo and his reported RP visit

By Ruben V. Nepales
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 19:10:00 07/22/2010

Filed Under: Entertainment (general), Environmental Issues

LOS ANGELES ? We recently asked Leonardo DiCaprio?s publicist about the star?s reported trip to the Philippines. The press agent said he didn?t ?have any comment at this time,? but added, ?I?ll definitely reach out when we do.?

Sources close to Leonardo?s camp told us privately that they were surprised ? and concerned ? about the various print stories coming out about the actor?s visit to Manila. However, they did confirm that Leonardo, whose team-up with director Christopher Nolan, ?Inception,? is shaping up to be both a commercial and critical hit, was coming to the Philippines.

When we interviewed Leonardo (before the trip was announced in Philippine media), he talked about his passion for traveling, wildlife preservation and nature conservation?factors that may explain why he is considering the Philippines as one of his next destinations.

Wildlife projects

?I love traveling,? said Leonardo, one of the few actors who evoke old Hollywood glamour. ?I recently went to Nepal and Bhutan to do this great program with the World Wildlife Fund to save the last remaining tigers. They?re doing a big launch for that. I got to go to the Galapagos a month before that trip. When I am not working, that?s what I do. I love seeing these destinations that I dreamed about seeing ever since I was a little boy, especially places known for wildlife and things like that. I love scuba diving and seeing nature.?

When we pressed Leonardo to elaborate on the ?Save the Tigers Now? project, he smiled and quipped, ?How much do you want to know? I could go on. I could bore the hell out of you.? But he obliged.

?There are only 3,200 remaining wild tigers in the world,? he began. ?The objective is a very interesting one because there?s a lot of species on the brink of extinction. But this is a very compelling one because the tiger is a nearly mythical creature that everyone knows and can immediately identify with. The tigers are being poached and used for medicinal purposes all over Asia. If you put a lot of attention on this animal, like they did with the panda, you can then save their entire habitat and the animals that they hunt and the other animals that live in those jungles.?

He continued: ?So in a sense, it?s not just a ?save the tiger? campaign?it?s a ?save the jungles? campaign. The Indonesian rain forests and jungles throughout all of Asia are being decimated, cut down and not protected. The animals are being poached so the idea is to take this one species, bring a lot of funding behind it, get the local communities involved to protect the animal, get more anti-poachers in place and you can save their habitat.?

How long did it take him to fly to the Himalayas (where he spent a week and a half)? Leonardo jokingly complained, ?It took 30 hours to get there, all on commercial airlines?dammit!?

Horrific disaster

Asked what idea he would plant, and in whose mind, if he had the skills of his character in ?Inception.? Leonardo answered: ?The CEO of British Petroleum, to pay back the Gulf Coast for all the damage they?ve done to the environment. That?s what I would implant. The oil spill is just a horrific disaster. It?s so depressing and unbelievable. It?s so irresponsible.?

The environmental activist proudly said: ?A lot of this movie (?Inception?) was made with solar power. It?s the first movie I got to do with solar power. I had a conversation about it with Alan Horn, who?s the head of Warner Bros. The generators that we had on the set were all powered by solar energy. It?s going to be a big conversion to do stuff like that every day, not just in making movies but everything in the world. We do a lot of things in the world that are wasteful. We keep talking about this all the time. Hopefully, fingers crossed, with these small steps, we?ll make that transition on a much larger scale in the future.?

E-mail the columnist at rvnepales_5585@yahoo.com.



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