The world has turned on shirtless Leo
April was the cruellest month for Leonardo DiCaprio who found himself, one northern spring morning, splashed all over the interwebz in a video that shocked the world. Was it drugs? Women? A Martin Sheen-style method acting experiment gone awry?
Sadly, no. It was footage of the one-time 'king of the world' dancing like an absolute dag at the Coachella music festival. And the headlines were indeed cruel, calling it everything from 'Dad dancing' (he is 40) to 'nerdy' to 'the dance sensation scaring the nation'. It was speculated that drugs were involved, (it is Coachella). Alas, if drugs were involved they were of no help to him, (for the record, Di Caprio says he's NEVER tried drugs) because the blogosphere had already made up its mind months ago: Leonardo DiCaprio, the poster boy for poster boys, who'd garnered both critical and box office cred with his beautiful face and serious acting chops, was officially a joke.
The chatter had been building long before April. While he'd always been a dater of professionally beautiful women, his taste seemed to narrow after he broke up with his longest-running girlfriend, the highest -paid model in the world, Gisele Bundchen in 2005. The jokes about trading in new-for-new, (blonde, under 25 and often from the Victoria's Secret catalogue) had grown in scale and bite. Pap shots were published of him time andagain on beaches, his deeply un-Hollywood body, topless and bereft of body hair, (save for the '90s goatee which appears to growl 'Off duty'). He was often cavorting with a womanwho wouldn't look out of place on the cover of Sports Illustrated - and the disparity was lost on no one. (The New York Post dubbed him 'The Great Fatsby: Bloated Leo Swims with Model').
In January at the Golden Globes, Tina Fey introduced him.
'And now, like a supermodel's vagina, let's all give a warm welcome to Leonardo DiCaprio.'
Fey wasn't the only celebrity to have a dig. In an interview with Esquire Magazine last November, George Clooney, who was at the time a bachelor himself, derided DiCaprio and his friends for their lack of basketball skills, among other pursuits. "The discrepancy between their game and how they talked about their game made me think of how important it is to have someone in your life to tell you what's what," Clooney told the magazine. "I'm not sure if Leo has someone like that."
None of us is sure, George.
DiCaprio has surrounded himself with half a dozen close friends for the last two decades - all of them b-list actors, one a magician.
But Clooney's comments, and his recent engagement to Amal Alamuddin came at an interesting time. It's a little-known fact Clooney reads and watches everything in order to keep his level of celebrity at the right temperature. Could it be then, that Clooney took a look at Leo one morning and had a George Costanza moment?
You're not out there! You can't be, because *I* am out there. And if I see *you* out there, there's not enough voltage in this world to electroshock me back into coherence!
Was Leonardo DiCaprio making bachelorhood appear so trashy it forced Clooney look at himself and effectively shocked him into marriage?
But if he shocked Clooney he appalled one writer at Salon who eloquently eviscerated him after the Coachella video, saying This is the paradox of Leonardo DiCaprio: sexy gentleman behind the camera, lame dude in public.'
And then, the crescendo: NYMag publishedhis photograph of the Oscar-nominated actor on Wednesday, pointing out that he was a grown-up with a boy's toy.
It's as if DiCaprio, with his 'super smart' twitter account, glamorous galas for animal rights and environmental crusades, doesn't realise that since he was catapulted into the stratosphere of 'serious actor' in the early 90s, WE CAN SEE HIM! Or if he knows he doesn't care. But he should because the world has turned.
DiCaprio has not entered graciously into manhood, even on screen. He's played Howard Hughes, Jay Gatsby and Jordan Belfort in the Wolf of Wall Street but in all three roles he looked like a Ritalin-infused pubescent boy bouncing around in his dad's suit.
Besides, clubbing with loads of women half your age - and BMI - at 40 is no longer a good look. Because something has changed. Could it be the mainstreaming of feminism? (oh come now, this is Daily Life).
Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, Tony Curtis, Michael Douglas and countless other men with acclaimed acting careers and saggy backs enjoyed plucking and disposing of women half their age without much consequence.
But in 2014 it appears to have backfired for DiCaprio, who looks like he's stuck in a really bad episode of Entourage. Which is sad in a way. But in another way it's a win. It means that at last the rules about women getting old in Hollywood, (ie, that they're not allowed to without being thought of as ridiculous) are starting to apply to men. It's no longer enough to be perceived as good at your craft. It's no longer enough to look handsome in movies. If you lead the life of P.Diddy people are going to find it laughable. It's not much, it probably won't dent his career, but it's a start.