Communists in Russia aren’t pleased with Leonardo DiCaprio’s plans to play the famous communist leader, Lenin.
In an interview with German newspaper Die Welt, DiCaprio – who bears a passing resemblance to the revolutionary – spoke of his fascination with Russian history and figures.
The Oscar nominee said:
I think there should be more films about Russian history because it has many stories worthy of Shakespeare… That is fascinating for an actor. Putin would be very, very, very interesting. I would like to play him.
Lenin also would be an interesting role. I would like also to star as Rasputin.
But this caused outrage amongst the St Petersburg’s Communist Party, a splinter group separate from the main parliamentary Communist Party of the Russian Federation.
Sergey Malinkovich, one of the party’s leaders, said they would disrupt filming unless a Russian actor was given the lead.
We have sent a letter to Lenfilm and told them that such move would provoke protest actions… We would launch the civil disobedience actions near Lenfilm entrance, we simply would not let them enter it. They should find a Russian actor.
This isn’t the first time that Malinkovich has been upset by a casting decision. In 2008 he wrote an open letter to Olga Kurylenko, the Ukrainian-born model who played Bond girl, Camille Montes in the James Bond film Quantum of Solace, accusing her of ‘betrayal’.
In the name of all communists we appeal to you, prodigal daughter of poor Ukraine and deserter of Slavic world.
The Soviet Union gave you free education, free medical care but nobody knew you would commit an act of intellectual and moral betrayal and become a movie girl of Bond, who in his movies kills hundreds of Soviet people and citizens of other socialist countries.
Malinkovich has a history of bizarre protests, proposing banning selfie sticks, banning all American athletes from participating in the 2014 Sochi Olympics and also asking the Central Bank to restrict sales of foreign currency to citizens.
DiCaprio hasn’t accepted the role yet but Lenfilm is keen to begin expanding after reviving a $75 million (£52 million) cash injection from Chinese investors last year.
And Russian film industry figures are excited at the idea of Leo playing one of their countries heroes.
Vladimir Bortko, a Russian film director, screenwriter and producer, said: ‘DiCaprio is a good artist,’ adding, “He can play whatever he wants to play. I would have him with pleasure if he invited me as a director.”
A Lenfilm spokesman said he hoped the project would go ahead, despite the Communist Party’s objections.
We hope Leo doesn’t ‘Russian’ to accepting the role.