Leonardo DiCaprio being offered Lenin role angers Russian Communists

The casting would “provoke protest actions”, said St Petersburg’s Communist Party

Jack Shepherd@JackJShepherd
Monday 01 February 2016 10:30
Lenin/Leonardo DiCaprio promoting The Revenant
Lenin/Leonardo DiCaprio promoting The Revenant

In January this year, Oscar hopeful Leonardo DiCaprio listed off numerous Russian revolutionaries he would like to one day play on screen.

“I think there should be more films about Russian history because it has many stories worthy of Shakespeare,” he said, going on to name the likes of Putin, Rasputin and Lenin.

Only days later, a LeninFilm spokesperson revealed they would be very interested in working with the 41-year-old on a project: ”It is always interesting to make movies. Leonardo DiCaprio is often compared to Lenin in his youth. We have enough scenery and props to recreate the era of the revolution.”

Indeed, the two look very similar, as pointed out by many social media users. However, that’s not enough to satisfy some communists in Russia who have threatened to blockade the film studio if they cast DiCaprio as Lenin.

Speaking to the state-run RIA Novosti news agency, the St Petersburg’s Communist Party - separate from the main parliamentary Communist Party - said they had written a letter to LeninFilm expressing how casting the actor would “provoke protest actions”.

“We would launch the civil disobedience actions near Lenfilm entrance, we simply would not let them enter it,” said one of the party’s leaders, Sergey Malinkovich.“They should find a Russian actor.”

It should be noted that DiCaprio’s maternal grandmother, Helene Indenbirken, was Russian, and DiCaprio has on occasion referred to himself as half Russian.

Malinkovich is known for his protests, having written an open letter to Olga Kurylenko when it was announced she would play a Bolivian agent in James Bond film Quantum of Solace.

"In the name of all communists we appeal to you, prodigal daughter of poor Ukraine and deserter of Slavic world," he said at the time.

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“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.”

LeninFilm is one of the oldest film studios in Russia, with its roots going as far back as 1914 when the military were producing films in St. Petersburg. At the time, it was called the St. Petersburg film committee and had 68 cinemas in the city.

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