"I am a bit drained," Leonardo DiCaprio recently admitted to the German press. "I'm now going to take a long, long break. I’ve done three films in two years and I’m just worn out." The star has certainly earned it. He started his career as a child appearing in various commercials before moving into television roles. Remember him as the homeless kid that the Seaver family befriended on Growing Pains? Yeah, Leo's been doing this a really long time.
At only 38 years old, DiCaprio has a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in The Aviator and three Academy Award nominations for Blood Diamond, The Aviator and What's Eating Gilbert Grape. He's also a committed environmentalist, outfitting himself with solar, electric, hybrid everything, as well as donating his time and money to green causes. His hiatus feeds into this part of his life as well. "I would like to improve the world a bit. I will fly around the world doing good for the environment." He flies commercial, by the way.
Having just watched Quentin Tarantino help transform the actor into a delightfully formidable villain in Django Unchained, we're sad to see him vanish for a little while, but as website Film Stage points out, we also respect him more for it. He's not churning out parts for the paycheck. He's committed to quality roles and not willing to sacrifice his craft for some imaginary, self-inflicted world record.
Viggo Mortensen took a similar vacation from Hollywood. In 2008 and 2009, he told reporters that he was "just taking a little break now." The press twisted his statement into a declaration of retirement, but everyone breathed a sigh of relief when they saw Mortensen in Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method as Sigmund Freud and in last year's On the Road. And who can forget Joaquin Phoenix's rapper retirement shenanigans that came to light in 2010 after the 2008 hoax for mockumentary I'm Still Here? Gene Hackman's last role (for now) was 2004's Welcome to Mooseport. Hackman has kept busy painting and writing, but GQ tried to angle a return from the actor by comparing him to his on-screen hero, James Cagney, who came out of retirement for Ragtime. "You've got to do one more movie," the outlet pleaded. So far no dice, but we imagine this won't be the last time we'll hear from Leo.