Leonardo DiCaprio says the current studio system in Hollywood is blocking the way of creative storytelling and believes it is responsible for the switch of the filmmakers towards the streaming medium.
During an interview with Esquire magazine, the 43-year-old actor said such a trend is unhealthy for cinema.
“I don’t want to act as if I’ve been around since f***ing silent cinema, but I see this as a huge shift in the way movies are going to get done, what gets financing. The studio system has tons of content, libraries of things that they can make movies of, but in a lot of ways they are hemorrhaging.
“They’ve become — much like in the twenties — these corporate empires that have taken over the artistic vein of movie making. We’re now in an era when there’s a flush of cash into streaming,” DiCaprio said.
The actor, who is partnering with Hollywood star Brad Pitt for director Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, said the excess of content has also led to a “lot of garbage out there”.
“Now I do see a lot of chances being taken for story lines, certainly documentaries, certainly giving some artists opportunities to make out-of-the-box story lines that I don’t think 10 years ago would have been possible. But these types of films that Quentin is doing are also becoming endangered species,” he added.
DiCaprio said the film aficionados and critics should continue to celebrate the filmmakers who are still holding the fort for creative and risk-taking cinema.
“I’m not saying celebrate this movie, but let’s celebrate filmmakers who are still holding on to the craft of making movies, and let’s hope that in that transition into whatever this is going to be, this type of filmmaking will still exist. There are some dark ages coming up.”
Pitt also weighed in on the discussion and said a positive takeaway is people are getting more opportunities to showcase their talent.
However, he lamented the lack of awareness among the new breed of filmmakers about the classics, which he attributed to the “shift” in the attention span of a movie viewer.
“I see something else happening with the younger generations. I was dismayed at how many 20 year olds have never seen ‘The Godfather’, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, ‘All the President’s Men’, these films are the Bible to me. And they may not even get to see them.
“I’ve always believed every good film finds its eyes, inevitably. But there’s a shift in attention span. I’ve been hearing from newer generations that they’re used to something shorter, quicker, big jump, and get out. And the streaming services work that way; you can move on to the next one if you’re enticed,” Pitt, 55, said.
The actor believes commitment is key for movie watching process.
“What I always loved about going to a cinema was letting something slowly unfold, and to luxuriate in that story and watch and see where it goes. I’m curious to see if that whole form of movie watching is just out the window with the younger generations. I don’t think so completely,” he added.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood premiered at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival and is set to be released in July.