Unsinkable Star

From the Moncton Times And Transcript, March 16th, 1998.

Leonardo Dicaprio floats on the adoration of young fans.

They filter from theathers playing the blockbuster movie Titanic after the final credits roll, dabbing at the corner of teary eyes. In shopping malls and on playgrounds, they rehash their favorite scenes.

And the focus of all this attention? Leonardo DiCarpio. The Titanic star has a loyal following among milk and cookie set that's turning him into an industry.
"He's just, like, he's got..." says Lisa West 11, at the loss to describe the pouty blond heartthrob who's talk of teen town.

True DiCapriettes, as his young female fans have been dubbed, have seen Titanic several times, helping to generate more than $1 billion in ticket sales worldwide since December. They've bought out the 23-year-old actor's biography at most bookstores. From one week to the next, DiCaprio's face is plastered on the covers of numerous teen magazines. Hollywood merchandisers can hardly keep up.

"The Magazines that he's all over, they go quite quickly," says Donna Murray, who works at a Chapters Book Store. "Everybody wants it,". Nobody wants it more than girls looking for more pictures of their favorite star.

"He's, like, the best guy ever." says Danielle Rolle 13.
"He's every girls's dream... His picture is in everybody's locker at school."

In Rolle's grade 7 class, collecting DiCaprio memorabilia has become competitive. DiCapriettes buy posters, join fan clubs and log visits to Web Sites Dedicated to the teen heartthrob - The Official Leonardo DiCaprio Page, The Completely Unofficial Leonardo DiCaprio Page, The LovinLeo Page and DiCaprioland, to name a few.

Hundreds of fans have sent nasty e-mails and left phone messages protesting the fact that DiCaprio wasn't nominated for an Academy Awards for best Actor.

At a recent New York preview of his latest film The Man In The Iron Mask, screaming, crying fans crashed through a police barricade to catch a glimpse of him.

He's cute and a good actor," says West, who calls herself the "Ultimate" fan. She has posters plastered on the walls of her room. Her pet rabbit is named for him. She and many of her Grade 5 friends have seen his other movies, The Basketball Diaries, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Marvin's Room and the 1993 film This Boy's Life, filmed in Vancouver.

But it was his portrayal of a hip, modern Romeo in the 1996 version of Shakespeare's classic that first launched him into the hearts of teenaged fans.

"Ever since Romeo and Juliet, he's been popular," says Kevin Taylor, owner of Hollywood Cowboys in Vancouver. "The Christmas that came out I had every mother who had a teenaged daughter calling me. It was amazing." Taylor has sold out of his original Titanic movie posters and has started stocking reprints. The kind of adoration teens are heaping on the young star "doesn't happen very often" says Taylor. But when it does, it makes him very, very happy. "He can just keep putting out movies every Christmasm as far as I'm concerned."

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