Leonardo DiCaprio’s deepest, darkest and wholly rational fear of sharks was tested to the extreme after he came face-to-face with a great white during a terrifying diving ordeal.
The daring Wolf of Wall Street star was taking part in an underwater expedition in Cape Town, South Africa in 2006 while he was on a break from filming Blood Diamond.
But far from being the relaxing extracurricular pursuit he’d hoped for, things went horribly awry when he became trapped in a shark cage and subsequently attacked.
"I had a huge fear of sharks, and when I did Blood Diamond in 2006 I actually got stuck in a cage with a great white, which was awesome," he told chat show host Ellen DeGeneres during her show yesterday.
"It was a gigantic great white... They actually said in 30 years this has never happened, but the tuna kind of got stuck on the top of the cage and the great white leapt out and tried to bite it and went into the cage with me.
"Half of its body was in and out, and I flattened down at the bottom, and it was this far away, and it chomped a few times but I survived it."
The actor, 39, whose own Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is dedicated to protecting endangered species of animals and the environment, was initially invited on the trip by a charity devoted to saving sharks. But he admitted he’d be unlikely to go on another such fundraiser again.
"I don't want to do that anymore, but I don't want to discount their work because they're doing great stuff. But it was absolutely terrifying."
Instead, he’s taken to the far less terrifying, but arguably just as dangerous if not more so, charity pursuit of motor racing.
The star recently purchased an entire racing team to compete in the forthcoming Formula E world racing series, which he hopes will help to promote and boost the sales of zero-emission electric cars.
Alejandro Agag, the chief executive of Formula E holdings, told the BBC: "Very few environmental leaders have helped more than [DiCaprio] to spread the message of sustainability around the world.
"Having people like him and Richard Branson – global ambassadors for the environment – is a privilege for our championship and will greatly help us to spread the use of electric cars in cities around the planet."
Renault, Michelin and McLaren are among several major motorsport firms that have invested in Formula E.
In other news, DiCaprio was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Actor for his role as corrupt stockbroker Jordan Belfort in Martin Scorsese's the Wolf of Wall Street.
See the BAFTA nominees in full here and find out who DiCaprio will be up against for Best Actor in the gallery below.
Baftas 2014: Actor nominees
Baftas 2014: Actor nominees
1/20 Leading Actor
British actor Christian Bale has been nominated for his role as con man Irving Rosenfeld in crime drama American Hustle - here pictured left with co-stars Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper.
2/20 Leading Actress
Another Brit in the running - Judi Dench is nominated for her role as Philomena in Stephen Frears' drama of the same name about a journalist who picks up on the story of a woman's hunt for her estranged son.
3/20 Leading Actor
Chiwetel Ejiofor has been given a nod for his role in Steve McQueen's harrowing adaptation 12 Years a Slave. The British actor plays New Yorker free man Solomon Northup who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the mid-1800s.
4/20 Leading Actress
Gravity is leading the Bafta pack with 11 nominations and one has gone to Sandra Bullock for her role as medical engineer Ryan Stone who is on her first space mission.
5/20 Leading Actor
Bruce Dern is nominated for his role as Woody Grant in US comedy drama Nebraska - here pictured with Will Forte who plays his son David in the film.
6/20 Leading Actress
Amy Adams has been given a nod for her role as the manipulative Sydney Prosser in American Hustle - here pictured left with co-star Christian Bale.
7/20 Leading Actor
Leonardo Di Caprio is up for a Bafta for his role as wealthy stockbroker Jordan Belfort in Martin Scorsese's black comedy The Wolf of Wall Street.
8/20 Leading Actress
Cate Blanchett has earned a nomination for her role as the deeply troubled New York socialite Jasmine in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine.
9/20 Leading Actor
Tom Hanks is nominated for his role as Captain Richard Phillips in Captain Phillips. Paul Greengrass' film is based on the 2009 hijacking of a US cargo shop by Somali pirates.
10/20 Leading Actress
British actress Emma Thompson is up for a Bafta for her role as Mary Poppins author PL Travers in Disney's Saving Mr Banks - here pictured with co-star Tom Hanks.
11/20 Supporting Actor
Another nod for American Hustle - this time in the form of a nomination for Bradley Cooper who plays wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso - here pictured left with fellow Bafta nominee Christian Bale.
12/20 Supporting Actress
Julia Roberts has been nominated for her role as the strong-willed Barbara Weston in John Well's August: Osage County - here pictured embracing Meryl Streep's Violet.
13/20 Supporting Actor
Matt Damon has been nominated for his role as pianist Liberace's much-younger lover Scott Thorson in Behind the Candelabra - here pictured right with Michael Douglas.
14/20 Supporting Actress
Jennifer Lawrence has earned a Bafta nomination for her role as Christian Bale's neurotic wife Rosalyn Rosenfeld in American Hustle.
15/20 Supporting Actor
Spanish-born German actor Daniel Brühl has been nominated for his role as 1970s Formula One racing driver Niki Lauda in Ron Howard's fast-paced drama Rush.
16/20 Supporting Actress
Kenyan rising star Lupita Nyong'o has earned a nod for her role as cotton picker Patsey in 12 Years a Slave.
17/20 Supporting Actor
Michael Fassbender has been given a nod for his role as brutal plantation owner Edwin Epps in 12 Years a Slave - here pictured left with Chiwetel Ejiofor.
18/20 Supporting Actress
US talk show host Oprah Winfrey is nominated for her role as Gloria Gaines in Lee Daniels' biographical drama The Butler - here pictured with co-star Forest Whitaker.
19/20 Supporting Actor
Somalian actor Barkhad Abdi is nominated for his role as Somali pirate captain Muse in Captain Phillips.
20/20 Supporting Actress
Sally Hawkins has scored a Bafta nomination for her role as Jasmine's sister Ginger in Blue Jasmine - here pictured with co-star Andrew Dice Clay.
Video: The Wolf of Wall Street trailer
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