It’s no secret that Leonardo DiCaprio is willing to do anything to get into character. So when it came time to set aside his acting and make a documentary about the environment, the Oscar winner almost drowned trying to get some footage.
According to director Fisher Stevens, who spent years traveling the world with DiCaprio for Before the Flood, the actor’s oxygen tank started to leak during a 2010 underwater shoot in the Galapagos with marine biologist Sylvia Earle and actor Edward Norton.
“I was filming Sylvia and I had this little easy camera to shoot underwater, and he was Sylvia’s diving buddy, so I said, would you film Sylvia? And he said, ‘Yeah I love it man, I love it,'” Stevens recalled to U.K’s GQ. “Leo bolts away with Sylvia, and Edward goes in front of me and the next thing I know after twenty minutes I’d lost them all. Then, I see Leo buddy breathing, because Leo’s tank was leaking oxygen, and Edward had to save him!”
He added, “It was pretty crazy. But he actually did get some film for me and it was good for a second and then it got pretty shaky when he couldn’t breathe. But we really bonded on that trip.”
However, that wasn’t the only near-death experience the filmmaking duo had during production. Fisher also explained that, while filming aerial shots in Indonesia, their helicopter started having problems after it was engulfed in a thick cloud of smoke from the palm oil fires below.
“This is crazy. Once, we were in a helicopter flying over Sumatra, filming the palm oil fires. Suddenly, we were in the middle of all this smoke.” Stevens remembered. “We couldn’t move. I was freaking out. For ten whole minutes, I was like, ‘We’re done, we’re finished. This is the worst idea we have ever had filming this thing.'”
“You can hear me off screen going going ‘AAAAH WHAT THE FUCK!’ And Leo’s calmly saying, ‘Fisher, what are we doing? Where are we? How did this happen?'” he continued. “We had some very harrowing moments and that was the most harrowing.”
A world without Leo? That’s not a world we’d want to live in.