Hollywood, and the celebrity culture it breeds, is often accused of distracting the masses from more pressing social and political issues -- a modern day "bread and circuses." And Leonardo DiCaprio would likely consider circuses an apt metaphor, as he believes actors are all just clowns for hire.
While discussing his admiration for his mother, the Oscar-nominated actor told the U.K. paper The Sun: "I realize that I do not change the course of history. I am an actor, I do a movie, that's the end of it. You have to realize we are just clowns for hire."
Those who view acting and filmmaking as a true artform are likely to disagree with DiCaprio's sentiments, which are surprising since DiCaprio has chosen to work on projects that tackle sociopolitical issues, such as "Blood Diamond" and "Revolutionary Road."
DiCaprio's comments have been echoed by other A-list actors, such as Johnny Depp, who told Vanity Fair that as long as studios continue to pay him "stupid money," he'll keep making movies like "Alice In Wonderland" and the seemingly never-ending "Pirates Of the Caribbean" franchise.
The self-deprecating comment coincides with the upcoming re-release of the film that catapulted DiCaprio to movie star and heartthrob status. After 15 years, "Titanic" will be back in theaters in 3D and DiCaprio tells The Sun he had no idea taking on the role of Jack would change his life.
"I would love to say I predicted ["Titanic"] would be one of the biggest hits in film history. I didn't -- and wondered whether I should do it at all," he revealed. "I resisted it for a long time because I had been offered the film 'Boogie Nights.'"
It's easy to imagine that DiCaprio's career might have taken a wildly different turn had he decided to portray 1970s porn actor Dirk Diggler, rather than a star-crossed lover.
"The fact that Kate Winslet said 'yes' was the final decider," he said. "She was awesome. We were definitely shoulders for each other to lean on."
Later in the interview, the 37-year-old actor contradicts his earlier comments when reminiscing about the film the made him a star.
"I am so glad to be a part of that movie. Years from now, people will still be watching that film," he said. "I am a part of something historical, in a lot of ways. It gave me opportunities, as an actor, to steer the course of my own destiny."
For more with Leonardo DiCaprio, click over to The Sun.