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Body of Lies (2008)

Leonardo DiCaprio, Body of Lies | LEONARDO DICAPRIO
Image credit: Francois Duhamel
LEONARDO DICAPRIO

Details Release Date: Oct 10, 2008; Rated: R; Length: 126 Minutes; Genre: Drama; With: Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio; Distributor: Warner Bros.

When your trailer runs before The Dark Knight, audience awareness is bound to be high. And so it is with Body of Lies, Ridley Scott's thriller about shady CIA double and triple crosses in the war on terror. Crowe, the director's go-to leading man (Gladiator, American Gangster, and—lest we forget—2006's A Good Year), plays a callous D.C. spymaster, the high-powered cat behind the desk toying with DiCaprio's idealistic mouse in the field. ''It's not James Bond with lots of people running around,'' says Scott. ''It's much more undercover and casual...which makes it more lethal.''

Crowe and DiCaprio — who first worked together in 1995's The Quick and the Dead, back when Leo was still playing characters named ''The Kid'' and Crowe was making his Hollywood debut — met with Scott early on to discuss their roles. Both had ideas. Lots of ideas. ''Their processes are very similar,'' says Scott. ''Russell wanted to put on weight, and Leo wanted a twangy accent.'' So did the Method stuff carry over off screen, with Crowe's bullying character pushing around his costar? ''Nah,'' says Scott, ''that's Actors Studio crap.'' DiCaprio suffered in other ways, though. The actor was coming off Revolutionary Road, a bleak drama about a troubled marriage, costarring Kate Winslet. He had to get that twangy accent down fast. ''In Revolutionary Road we were stuck in a small house in the suburbs for three months,'' says DiCaprio. ''And then a month and a half later I was in the desert in Africa blowing up cars. But that's what you get when you enter the lion's den to work with Ridley. The guy's a big-game hunter.''
OUR TWO CENTS No doubt Scott, Crowe, and DiCaprio are a dream team, but the smorgasbord of accents and facial hair in the trailer has us a bit concerned. 10/10
DEEP DIVE Ignatius, the author of the bestseller on which the film is based, is a Washington Post columnist. You can see what he has to say on other global issues at: http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/

Originally posted Aug 13, 2008 Published in issue #1007-1008 Aug 22, 2008 Order article reprints