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Leonardo DiCaprio on the 'Titanic' shadow, fame before TMZ

Leonardo DiCaprio in Rolling Stone magazine

Leonardo Dicaprio gets loose in this month's issue of Rolling Stone, in which the "Inception" star ponders life before his mega-celebrity, his advantages in navigating his fame and the all-important question of his "Titanic" alter ego.

Leonardo DiCaprio's Rolling Stone magazine cover "I got to be wild and nuts, and I didn't suffer as much as people do now, where they have to play it so safe that they ruin their credibility," the actor said of his wilder times, before paparazzi huddled 'round every valet stand in Los Angeles.

"It was also about avoiding the tornado of chaos, of potential downfall ... . My two main competitors in the beginning, the blond-haired kids I went to audition with, one hung himself and the other died of a heroin overdose," DiCaprio said.

DiCaprio is presumably referring to Jonathan Brandis, who died in 2003 from injuries sustained while hanging himself, and River Phoenix, who met his famous demise from a heroin overdose outside of L.A.'s Viper Room.

"There aren’t stories of me in a pool of my own vomit in a hotel room on the Hollywood Strip," he said.

True enough, but one slice of his image was impossible to control, living up to the globally worshiped character Jack Dawson from James Cameron's "Titanic."

"It was like there was a separate entity out there ... not to use a James Cameron reference, but it was like being in a little bit of an avatar," DiCaprio said.

-- Matt Donnelly

Top photo: Leonardo DiCaprio gets comfortable. Credit: Mark Seliger / Rolling Stone

Bottom photo: DiCaprio on the cover of this month's Rolling Stone. Credit: Mark Seliger / Rolling Stone

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