Leonardo DiCaprio in a scene from 'Inception'

*Dreams have taken on a completely new meaning in “Inception.” Leonardo DiCaprio is head chief of his motley crew of mind thieves who enter peoples’ dreams to either steal thoughts or implant some. It is no surprise that DiCaprio is well up to the task in this action caper. He is one of Hollywood’s most underrated actors of our times and really should’ve gotten the Oscar for his role in “Revolutionary Road.

Dicpario took on “Inception” because it spoke to him, he says, and not because he believed in the subject matter. “It was interesting being a part of this film because I’m not a big dreamer and never have been. I remember fragments of my dreams and I try to take a traditional sort of approach to researching this project and doing preparation for it. I read books on dream analysis, Freud’s book on the analysis of dreams and tried to research it in that sort of formula. But then I realized that this is Chris Nolan’s (director) dream world that has it’s own structure and it’s own set of rules that he’s created. I think that all of us on this film mutually felt like this was a journey that we had to be a part of, that it was extremely exciting.”

There was a scene in the movie where no one was killed or maimed, but I felt the pain of the Africans who got in DiCaprio’s way. But it was he who felt the pain, Leo said. “I think the sequence in Morocco was pretty tough because I had to run through a crowd of people and I felt kind of like a pinball because I was bouncing from Moroccan to Moroccan and falling into various vending machines. That was a little bit tough but at the end of the day you’d be surprised that we pulled off.”

So what’s up next for DiCaprio? He’s taking on the role of a despicable person-and we’re not talking “Despicable Me”-in government who set an ominous tone that destroyed many lives. “I’m saying ‘yes’ to Clint Eastwood about playing J. Edgar Hoover who had some of the most scandalous evens in American history, everything from the Vietnam War to Martin Luther King and JFK. So it’s about the secret life of J. Edgar Hoover.”

It’s no secret that Disney’s “Fantasia” was the inspiration for Nicolas Cage’s decision to star in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” However, as in the case of the “Harry Potter” films, some groups say these movies deal with sorcery, witchcraft and the occult. “I just wanted to make a good movie,” Cage confirms. “I really felt the movie gods were with us on this one, specifically Walt Disney. I felt like we were-I think he would have been happy with this-and I was just having faith in that. I wasn’t thinking too much about the size or about how it would connect. It was just more about do the best we can do and try to channel a little bit of the spirit of Walt Disney, and ‘Fantasia.’

“This is a fantasy movie. This is a movie that is designed to make kids smile. To make kids happy. And it is based on one of the great short animated elements to the original Fantasia. That’s it.
Occult means hidden, it doesn’t mean witchcraft. It means invisible. So in a Victorian era you would use that word randomly, even in science experiments. This isn’t a witchcraft movie.”

In fact, Cage’s concerns about the plight of teachers also played a part when thinking about this project. “For me,” he says, “it was also something that I wanted to do as an homage to teachers in general; to sing an ode to teachers, to sing their praises. These people are social workers who are devoted to expanding young peoples’ minds, but get paid nothing. And they don’t care about that. They don’t care about money. They just want to educate people. And that is my father. So it was also a sort of my gift to him.”

Nic: The reason this all happened for me was that I had interest, began to have an interest in Arthurian mythology and the grail cycle in particularly ancient England. And I was trying to find a way to start making a movie that resonated that, in some way. At the same time I wanted to make (a) family (film).  I’m eclectic, I like the midnight movies as well. But I wanted to make family movies that would entertain parents and their children. Give them both something to look forward to, congregate together and smile together. I think that is one of the better ways I can apply myself as an actor. So it made sense to me that if I could do a character that relied on magic and not bullets, I could entertain the family.

And Jon, if you really look at his career carefully, has always made positive movies that never resorted to gratuitous violence or gun play. And that is really hard to do in Hollywood, to pull that off. And that is his vision. And he has done it. And he has made people happy and it’s a very positive vision. So I knew he was the right director for it because of our experience together on National Treasure.

And Jerry, well I’ve made seven movies with Jerry and he always entertains the world. No one can make a move as exciting as Jerry Bruckheimer. You know when it’s a Jerry Bruckheimer movie it is going to have lots of chrome and gloss and it is going to be sexy, and it is going to be big, and it is going to be fun. So he, and he put it on a fast track. And that is how it happened. Raising the dead, and the sort of thing that I thought, ‘Oh this could be, to borrow the Tesla metaphor, a lightning rod for that kind of criticism.’ Was that a concern of how deep into the occult you could?

Nic:  No. No, no, no

Nic: In any event, with all due respect to language, the word ‘occult’ really just means hidden’.

Nic: Well yeah exactly right. And I didn’t answer the question.