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Leonardo DiCaprio builds eco-resort in Belize

When the island resort in Belize opens in 2018, which is owned in part by DiCaprio, it will be replete with all of the standard features of a luxury resort—”sprawling villas, infinity pools and stunning sunset views,” says The New York Times. But the resort will be wholly different than most. The “restorative” aspect doesn’t only refer to its hopefully healing effect on visitors, but also on the island itself. Overfishing, an eroding coastline and deforestation of the island’s mangrove trees have taken their toll. DiCaprio has teamed up with Paul Scialla, of Delos, a New York City-based developer, to restore the island’s natural environment.

“The villas for guests on Blackadore Caye will be built atop a massive platform that stretches in an arc over the water, with artificial reefs and fish shelters underneath,” says The New York Times. “A nursery on the island will grow indigenous marine grass to support a manatee conservation area, and mangrove trees will be replanted, replacing invasive species.” A team of researchers will monitor the resort’s impact on its surroundings.

“The main focus is to do something that will change the world,” DiCaprio told The New York Times. “I couldn’t have gone to Belize and built on an island and done something like this, if it weren’t for the idea that it could be groundbreaking in the environmental movement.” DiCaprio fell in love with Belize on a scuba diving trip in 2005, and soon purchased Blackadore Caye for $1.75 million with Jeff Gram, the owner of another island resort in Belize.

“Belize is truly unique,” says DiCaprio. “It has the second largest coral reef system in the world, and it has some of the most biodiverse marine life, like the manatee population and almost every species of fish you can imagine. Then there are the Mayan temples and the culture.”

Ecotourism has become a booming industry in recent years with 8 billion ecotourist visits a year worldwide. But Scialla and DiCaprio don’t want this to be like some resorts that pay a lot of lip service to environmental stewardship but have little to show for it. “The idea at Blackadore Caye is to push the envelope for what sustainability means—moving the idea beyond environmental awareness into restoration,” Scialla said. “We don’t want to just do less harm or even have zero impact, but to actually help heal the island, to make it better than before.”

And DiCaprio realizes the stakes are high, which is why he has a bold vision for the island. “With the onset of climate change, there are huge challenges, so we want the structure to not only enhance and improve the environment, but to be a model for the future.”

Out in Beverly Hills, CA

Leo was spotted out and about yesterday with his father in Beverly Hills, California! I’ve added a few pics, enjoy!

Leonardo DiCaprio partners with Netflix

Netflix continues its march to dominion: It’s partnering with Leonardo DiCaprio on future environmental documentary projects.

Netflix announced Wednesday that it will work with DiCaprio’s Appian Way production company on environmental- and conservation-themed documentary and docu-series projects as part of a First Look deal for non-fiction projects to premiere on Netflix.

Under the terms of the multi-year deal, Netflix and DiCaprio will identify and develop “fact-based projects,” including acquired existing projects. DiCaprio will be producer or executive producer for all projects launched through the partnership.

Netflix and DiCaprio first partnered on the documentary Virunga, about protecting the last of the mountain gorillas in Africa, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature this year. DiCaprio also produced a documentary look at the state of the global environment, The 11th Hour, in 2007.

Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos called it a “natural extension” of an already-existing relationship.

DiCaprio said in a statement that his vision includes more than just entertainment.

“There’s never been a more critical time for our planet or more of a need for gifted storytellers to help us all make sense of the issues we face,” he said. “Through this partnership with Netflix, I hope to give documentary filmmakers doing urgent and important work the chance to have their films seen immediately by audiences all around the world.”

Although he’s an Oscar-nominated actor (five times), DiCaprio has also earned a reputation as a producer, philanthropist and environmental activist in recent years. He was named a U.N. Messenger of Peace focused on climate change in September, and his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation works to protect wild places and threatened species.

First pics of ‘The Revenant’!

The Revenant, an adaptation of Michael Punke‘s 19th century-set western novel, follows Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass, an injured fur trapper who’s robbed by two men after he can’t be brought back to civilization; after being left for dead, he escapes the wilderness and goes to find revenge. The film is set to release January 8th, 2016.

James Packer Poker AD!

After starring in many a Martin Scorsese film individually, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro are finally getting to star alongside each another in a “trailer” for a film that, well — turns out to nothing more than a very real commercial.

The “film,” which advertises the City of Dreams Manila casino, is called The Audition, in which Scorsese has DiCaprio and De Niro — two of his favorite lead actors from two phases of his career — compete for the same role.

At the Art Basel event in Miami, FL

Leo attented the Art Basel Event in Miami, FL on December 3rd with a couple of his friends! I’ve added a few pics, enjoy :)

Leonardo DiCaprio: Netflix Environmental Doc “Will Launch a Network of Stories Around the World”

Leonardo DiCaprio has been an avid environmentalist for over 15 years, and started his own foundation in 1998 to preserve endangered species and their habitats, among other goals. This year, the prolific actor accepted a role as executive producer of Virunga, a documentary he describes as “a true David and Goliath story” that argues for the protection of mountain gorillas and Africa’s oldest national park, as well as peers into as the harsh realities of life in the Congo.

Although shooting took place in 2011 and 2012 before DiCaprio signed on to produce, the actor felt a strong tie to the film’s message immediately after watching it. “I was incredibly moved by the documentary,” he told reporters during a conference call on Monday. “When the head of Netflix brought this to me, I was really shell-shocked at the tension. … It’s got the kind of tension and drama that is indicative of what’s going on in the world right now. These guys were there in actual time, seeing the conflict between the government and the rebels, and we see these heroes standing at the feet of, essentially, their own mortality, protecting these wild creatures.”

Poaching has been one of the biggest threats to the endangered mountain gorilla population, which has dwindled to less than 1,000 individuals in the wild. Today, however, environmental destruction from corporate interests — particularly those in the oil industry like British company SOCO International — have been the main cause of concern for Virunga park director Emmanuel de Merode and his park rangers. Amid the remnants of a civil war between the Democratic Republic of Congo government and militant rebels M23, SOCO was given the right to explore the Lake Edwards region of the park for underground oil.

“It’s almost unimaginable that a UNESCO heritage site is at risk of being exploited for the oil industry,” DiCaprio said. “We have systematically deforested our land; there’s a new report that we’ve lost half of the world’s biodiversity since the 1970s; we’re in the midst of climate change, and to systematically allow oil interests to go into these incredibly pristine environments that not only sequester carbon for climate change, but are home to the last bit of biodiversity that we have left is just an atrocity to nature, an atrocity to future generations.”

When asked about his role as executive producer and his hopes for the film, DiCaprio told The Hollywood Reporter, “I’ve been working alongside Netflix to partner myself as a producer to bring more attention to some incredibly vital and important stories concerning our environment, and Virunga is one of these incredible stories. … For me, it is something that is going to launch a whole network of stories around the world that need to be told.”

DiCaprio also wants to honor the courage of over a hundred rangers who have given their lives in defense of the Virunga fauna since the mid-1990s. One of the most powerful scenes, in his opinion, depicts the caregiver of a group of orphaned gorillas taking up arms when militant rebels approached his conservation complex. “The real heroes in these stories are the local communities,” he says. “Virunga, to me, is one of the best examples of environmental heroism where you have grassroots people on the ground risking their lives for these last remaining places that are so vital and important on so many different levels around the world. … These people are risking their lives every day to not only protect this environment, but to bring the message worldwide.”

Virunga director Orlando von Einsiedel is very appreciative of the heightened awareness that DiCaprio has brought for the cause, and they seem to have had some success; in recent months, SOCO International released statements claiming that it would cease operations in Virunga. Von Einsiedel, however, cautioned against hasty celebration, stating that, while many now believe the park to be safe, “Virunga is still very much at risk.”

Von Einsiedel directed those interested in contributing to the cause to virungamovie.com, where donations can be made to either the national park itself or to a foundation for the widows of the rangers who have been killed in the call of duty.

Leonardo DiCaprio Donates $2 Million to Create Marine Reserves and Stop Illegal Fishing

The actor’s funds will help protect the Pacific Islands and the Arctic, while improving fisheries enforcement in Europe, the U.S. and Central America

Oceans 5, an international environmental collective, announced Thursday that Leonardo DiCaprio’s foundation is donating $2 million to help stop illegal fishing and establishing marine reserves in the world’s five oceans.

The actor’s donation to the collective comes on top of a $3 million grant he announced earlier this year to Oceana’s effort to protect sharks, marine mammals and key ocean habitats in the Eastern Pacific. At a State Department conference on marine conservation in June, DiCaprio said his foundation would contribute $7 million to a variety of marine conservation initiatives over the next 24 months.

“The sad truth is that less than two percent of our oceans are fully protected,” DiCaprio said on Thursday. “We need to change that now.”

DiCaprio’s Oceans 5 grant will assist in the development of future initiatives and will directly support beneficiaries including: a new coalition of four conservation groups, working to strengthen controls on illegal fishing in the European Union, the world’s largest seafood market; a local organization in the Republic of Kiribati, working to implement the world’s fourth-largest marine reserve, located in the Central Pacific; a coalition of three organizations working to improve fisheries enforcement in Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador, including construction of a radar facility on Cocos Island; a group of Cook Islanders working to create a marine park within a territory that is three times the size of California; and several organizations working to create Arctic marine reserves in Canada, Greenland and Russia.

The actor called Oceans 5 “an exciting new platform for marine conservation.” Founded in 2011, the “collaborative philanthropy” is comprised of eight foundations who “share a common inspiration for results-oriented grantmaking.” Its members and partners include: the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the Oak Foundation, Planet Heritage Foundation, Marisla Foundation, Waitt Foundation, Moore Charitable Foundation, Angell Family Foundation and now, DiCaprio’s foundation.

“Oceans 5 is about making a difference for future generations,” said Ted Waitt, founder and chairman of the California-based Waitt Foundation. “Leo and his foundation bring a strategic focus to helping coastal communities protect biodiversity. It is a strong addition to our group.”

Leonardo DiCaprio Exits Steve Jobs Biopic as Contenders Line Up

Leonardo DiCaprio will not be tackling the role of Steve Jobs.

The actor, who had been in talks with Sony to tackle the late Apple Computer co-founder for director Danny Boyle, has bowed out to instead shoot The Revenant. But instead of making the untitled Jobs project right after, as had been hoped, DiCaprio has removed himself from the project altogether. Sources say after DiCaprio finishes The Revenant, which began shooting this week, he plans to take a lengthy break from acting.

Though the Jobs project, based on a Walter Isaacson book and adapted by Aaron Sorkin, is one of the most anticipated biopics in recent years, it has endured a few roadblocks since the best seller was first optioned by the studio in 2011, around the time of Jobs’ death.

David Fincher had been in talks to direct, but as The Hollywood Reporter revealed in April, he fell out of the project over compensation and control.

Now with DiCaprio out, the studio is eyeing a number of actors to take on the iconic tech figure, who has been both worshipped and reviled. Christian Bale, who Fincher wanted for the title role, is on Sony’s wish list, as is Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Bradley Cooper (though Affleck seems unlikely given that he just signed on for the thriller The Accountant).

Not quite sure why he’s taking a break, but I’m sure it’s to focus more on environmental charity! Whatever it is, we know he’ll make everyone proud!