SUFFICE IT to say that Leonardo DiCaprio and Ridley Scott agree to disagree about certain principles of the Geneva Conventions.
"If I'm going to get down to brass tacks, there's no rules," Scott exclaimed, sitting on the sun-drenched deck of his West Hollywood production company. He was speaking hypothetically about his willingness to use torture to extract information from a suspected terrorist -- a pivotal plot point in the knighted British director's political thriller "Body of Lies." The film, starring DiCaprio and Russell Crowe as CIA operatives out to smash terror cells in the Middle East, reaches theaters Oct. 10.
"If I want to get the information out of somebody, I have to do it," Scott continued. "And it makes it a lot easier if that person put a bomb in a square or blew up a bunch of kids. I'd definitely take a cricket bat to him." He glanced over at DiCaprio for confirmation. "Right?"
DiCaprio clamped his lips together, averted eye contact and almost imperceptibly shook his head no. Awkward moment, anyone? The hard-charging director suddenly reversed course. "Never let me be the head of any counter-terrorist organization," Scott said, chuckling.
Adapted by William Monahan, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of "The Departed," from Washington Post columnist David Ignatius' intricately plotted espionage novel of the same name, "Body of Lies" presents the most stinging screen portrayal of American foreign policy by any Hollywood studio movie in recent memory. DiCaprio portrays Roger Ferris, an idealistic field agent operating out of Iraq and Jordan who resorts to elaborate subterfuge -- concocting a fictitious sleeper cell and staging a mock bombing -- to flush a terrorist mastermind out into the open.