Leonardo DiCaprio may be in hot water with at least one climate-change charity, but as it turns out, the man was deep in actual water prior to making his new documentary, Before the Flood. So deep, he nearly died again for the sake of bringing international attention to our dying planet – and, you know, for his art. The doc’s director Fisher Stevens tells GQ that, six years ago, before work on the film even began, Leo nearly drowned on their first expedition in the Galapagos until former Marvel superhero Edward Norton saved him:
The second time we properly hung out together was in 2010 when I was invited to film Sylvia Earle for a TED conference expedition to the Galapagos. Leo was on the expedition. I was filming Sylvia and I had this little easy camera to shoot underwater, and he was Sylvia’s diving buddy, so I said, would you film Sylvia? And he said, “Yeah I love it man, I love it.” I was diving buddies with Edward Norton. So we go down and we see 300 Eagle Rays and Spotted Rays and it was an amazing dive. Leo bolts away with Sylvia, and Edward goes in front of me and the next thing I know after twenty minutes I’d lost them all. Then, I see Leo buddy breathing, because Leo’s tank was leaking oxygen, and Edward had to save him! It was pretty crazy. But he actually did get some film for me and it was good for a second and then it got pretty shaky when he couldn’t breathe. But we really bonded on that trip.
You’ll remember that DiCaprio also had to endure near-death experiences to win his first Oscar for The Revenant, which he casually filmed at the same time as this harrowing doc, in the spare seconds he had between escaping hypothermia. How very method of you, Leo.