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The Aviator in our magazines

THE MOVIE: The Aviator

Leonardo DiCaprio • Cate Blanchett • Kate Beckinsale • Alan Alda • Alec Baldwin
DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese

Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) THE CONCEPT:
Biopic of Howard Hughes’ life from the mid-1920s through the late 1940s, when his daring-do and passion for flight drove his pioneering effect in both aviation and the movies. The film also touches on his descent into mental illness.

U.S. RELEASE: December 25 2004, Nationwide
• Rated: PG-13


“As an actor, you’re constantly searching for that great character. And, being a history buff, I found a book about Howard Hughes and he was set up as basically the most multi-dimensional character I ever come across. He was one of the most complicated men of the last century. I got this book, and Michael Mann, John Logan and I decided to focus on his younger years, and his initial descent into madness, but meanwhile have the backdrop of early Hollywood, and these daring pioneers in the world of aviation that were like astronauts, that went out and risked their lives to further the cause of aviation.”

“Howard Hughes was this visionary who was obsessed with speed and flying like a God. He was as rich as one of the Greek mythical kings, but ultimately had to pay that price.”

“With a legendary director like Marty, you imagine a megaphone and him shouting stuff. What was so amazing to work with him is he creates those conditions where everybody really can bring out the best part of what they’re good at.”

“He was the first American billionaire who had all the resources in the world, but was somehow unable to find any sense of peace or happiness. It’s the seesaw act in the movie that goes on. On one side, he’s having all the successes in the world and, on the other side, the tiny microbes and germs are the things that are taking him downward because of his OCD [Obsessive Compulsive Disorder].”

“I loved his idea of what film-making was. He became the outlaw of Hollywood in a way. I think Scarface is a better picture than Hell’s Angels, but Hell’s Angels is still a great film experience, particularly in its restored version. The aerial sequences never will be topped.”

“I’ve always been a huge fan of Leo’s. I remember going and seeing What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, and thinking, ‘Oh my God, I hope that’s a real boy and not an actor, because if it’s an actor we’re all screwed.’ That really raised the bar for everybody in a terrifying way. He’s not some kid on a skateboard that the talent fairy dropped fairy dust on. This is somebody who is in control of his talent and just a master of his craft. On top of it, he’s a terrific, nice man.”

DiCAPRIO on working with Scorsese:
“He’s every actor’s dream to work with. He’s not only one of the greatest film-makers of all time, but he’s a film historian. You get an education while working with him every single day.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Images above © Miramax Films
Feature © 2004 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #652, January 2005 cover

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