Posted : 2013-03-07 18:22
Updated : 2013-03-07 18:22

DiCaprio in Seoul to promote 'Django'

By Jung Min-ho

Hollywood megastar Leonardo DiCaprio speaks to reporters at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in southern Seoul Thursday in a press event for "Django Unchained," the new Quentin Tarantino movie about a freed slave who sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner. "I'm very excited and proud to be showing this film to everyone here," said the 38-year-old Hollywood star. This event is DiCaprio's first visit to Korea. / Yonhap
Leonardo DiCaprio came to Korea for the first time Thursday to promote his latest movie, ''Django Unchained,'' directed by the maestro of violence, Quentin Tarantino. DiCaprio showed respect for another internationally-renown auteur with a passion for grittiness ― Korea's own Park Chan-wook.

In a news conference at the Ritz Carlton in southern Seoul, the 38-year-old Hollywood megastar said he was a big fan of ''Oldboy,'' the 2003 film that won Park the Grand Prix at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.

DiCaprio added that he had enjoyed Korean food such as bulgogi (grilled marinated beef) and kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage) his ''whole life,'' having grown up near a Korean neighborhood in Los Angeles. The courtesy comments were kept short as after that DiCaprio kept the focus strictly on "Django Unchained,'' which opens in Korean theaters on March 21.

"I'm very excited and proud to be showing this film to everyone here,'' said DiCaprio, dressed smartly in a dark blue shirt.

"This was a great opportunity for me to work with one of the most unique filmmakers, Quentin Tarantino. It is Quentin's retelling of the past. This is a reinterpretation of that time period (of slavery). I'm proud to be part of (the film) in a character that represents everything wrong in that time period."

Written and directed by Tarantino and also featuring Jamie Fox and Kerry Washington, Django Unchained revolves around the story of a slave-turned-bounty hunter, played by Fox, and his struggles to save his wife, played by Washington, from a merciless Mississippi plantation owner Calvin J. Candie, played by DiCaprio.

DiCaprio said he had some hesitancy in acting the brutal racist character initially with respectful African-American actors such as Fox and Samuel L. Jackson, who plays Candie's head slave.

"This was a very difficult character for me to take on," DiCaprio said. "But they were the ones telling me to push the boundaries, saying the further I go with the character, the more I tell the truth. I really enjoyed working with them (Fox and Jackson).''

The movie has already attained huge commercial success, earning more than $400 million in theaters worldwide. It has also received positive reviews, winning Christoph Waltz the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor to match his Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor.

DiCaprio said he "would love to work with Tarantino again," calling him a "groundbreaking filmmaker who has a great appreciation of films."

Asked about his future plans, DiCaprio said he will take a break from acting for a while to focus on environmental work, referencing natural disasters that have killed thousands of people worldwide and left still more in tough situations.

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