…Since then, DiCaprio has become the most vocal and committed of Hollywood eco-activists. In 2000, he gave an impassioned speech challenging the incoming President Bush to pay attention to the issue.
And last year he premiered his full-length documentary feature on the state of the planet, 11th Hour, at the Cannes Film Festival. It had a mixed reception and DiCaprio was criticised for the perceived opulence of his jet-set lifestyle.
‘Just to clarify,’ he says. ‘I flew commercial.’
Despite his environmental campaigning, DiCaprio insists he is not the Hollywood poster child for all things green.
‘This is not about me,’ he says. ‘And it’s not about one group of people telling any other group of people how to live. I don’t think it’s fair to tell people to install solar panels, buy (low-watt) light bulbs or drive a hybrid – that’s not a reality for most people.
‘It is about something much, much bigger. It’s about getting the governments of the world to implement environmental policy.
‘We are the most powerful country in the world and we haven’t made a tiptoe towards renewable technologies. We should be the ones paving the way, the ones other countries look up to. It makes me extremely sad.
‘I was in Rome when Obama won the election. He represents a whole new era. Obama gets it that green technology and the economy go hand in hand, that we can build an industry that will create new jobs and economic growth and make us less reliant on foreign oil.’
‘It’s my first sports car and it’s an unbelievable drive,’ he enthuses. ‘It’s scarily fast and it all happens with the flip of a switch, unlike a piston-driven engine that needs to build up momentum.’