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Callan McAuliffe Talks Transforming Into Young Leonardo DiCaprio For ‘The Great Gatsby’

Thu, May 9, 2013 9:10am EDT by Andy Swift Add first Comment
Callan McAuliffe The Great Gatsby
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Plus, Callan tells about his hilariously awkward first encounter with the A-lister.

Acting alongside Leonardo DiCaprio is intimidating enough — but actually acting as Leo is an entirely different challenge, one Callan McAuliffe was thrilled to take on. The Australian heartthrob, 18, tells about his transformation into the Hollywood icon for his new role in Baz Luhrmann‘s The Great Gatsby, in theaters May 10, and reveals where you can see him next!

Read on for our full interview with Callan McAuliffe…

This movie’s going to be huge. Are you excited for the world to see you in action?

I’m in the film for a short time, in flashbacks actually, because I play the younger Gatsby. It’s all about discovering how Leo’s character came to be the way he is, how he developed his personality. It was great fun, quite a short shoot for me. I was in Northern Australia for the entire production, but I didn’t shoot until the last week.

Had you read the book before doing the movie?

I did! I’ve read it twice now, once when I was in school. My teacher actually forced me to read it, and I hated it because of that. But then I was cast in the movie, so I took it upon my self to read the book. And on the second reading, I actually really liked it. Maybe it was because I was older and could actually understand it — but maybe it was just because I wasn’t forced to read it.

And you play a young Leo! That must have been kind of an ego boost.

[Laughs] I actually had to work hard to make any resemblance whatsoever. They made my hair blond and straightened it, and they gave me blue contacts, which were a pain to fit. I think I had to go in for five different sets of fittings for the contacts, because I have brown eyes, so they had to have specially painted contacts. That was an experience in itself. They did a lot of stuff to make it somewhat believable, and having seen my footage, I think they did pretty damn well.

I know you didn’t get to act with Leo, since you play his younger self, but did you get to meet him?

Yes, I made an effort to talk to him quite a bit. The first time I met him was outside the bathroom after we’d all read the script. He had just washed his hands, so they were wet, and it was quite awkward. But every other time was great; he’s a really cool guy.

Aside from Gatsby, you have some really interesting projects coming up. What’s Blue Potato all about?

It’s a coming of age story about two kids in a small country town trying to find their own paths. I shot that in northern Maine; there were about 30 people on the crew. It was a small film, but that should be an interesting project to look out for.

And Kite?

That was a larger film, and I actually just came back from South Africa, where she shot it. Samuel L. Jackson is in it, and that was great fun. He’s fantastic to work with — very laid back, similarly to Leo, actually.

WATCH: ‘Great Gatsby’ Trailer, Featuring Callan McAuliffe

— Andy Swift