Leonardo DiCaprio as Calvin Candie in “Django Unchained”

*Leonardo DiCaprio is one of America’s most celebrated actors, having received praise in such diverse films as “Gangs of New York,” “The Aviator,” “Catch Me if You Can” and “The Departed.”

“It’s the greatest job in the world,” the actor said of his profession. “It’s what I’ve always wanted to do my entire life and I hope to continue doing this for a long time to come.”

But even he had to admit that his latest role in “Django Unchained” brought with it a challenge he had never faced in his 22-year career.”

“This was really my first attempt in playing a character I had this much disdain and this much hatred for,” he said at a press conference, referring to “Django Unchained’s” Calvin Candie, the ruthless owner of Mississippi’s most notorious slave plantation, Candyland.  Through dubious means, Candie has acquired Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), the wife of freed slave Django (Jamie Foxx).

Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio as Django and Calvin Candie in “Django Unchained”

“It was an incredibly uncomfortable environment to walk into,” DiCaprio said of his character’s sadistic behavior. “I’ve dealt with and seen racism in my surroundings in my life growing up, but to the degree that I had to treat other people in this film was  incredibly disturbing.”

Below, DiCaprio explains how Jamie Foxx and Samuel L. Jackson ensured that he delivered every ounce of sadism his character possessed in director Quentin Tarantino’s script.

Below, watch a clip of Leonardo DiCaprio in “Django Unchained,” opening Christmas Day.