Sometime in the late summer or early fall of ’93 I did a Movieline interview with Leonardo DiCaprio, when he was 18 or 19. He had recently done What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?m but he’d shot up since and was rail-thin and sharp as a tack in conversation. We did lunch in The Grill in Beverly Hills, a noisy place favored by agents, producers and lookie-lous. I remember sitting in that booth and listening to him free-associate while saying to myself, ‘This kid’s got it…I can feel the current.’

Now Leo is 44 and goateed and filled-out (the string-bean physique disappeared 20 years ago) and talking about how Once Upon A Time in Hollywood is a bit of a dinosaur enterprise (shot on film, intended for theatres, invested in physical sets and a certain kind of classic filmmaking), and I’m slapping my head as I realize that this guy who was the age of a high-school senior in ’93 is identifying with the old guard…he’s saying “wow, the world is changing but I hope we can keep making this kind of film for people to see in theatres,” etc.

It’s one thing to hear an older GenX or boomer-aged person lament the way things are going with streaming and whatnot, but to hear a relatively young guy like Leo say this…well, I’ve said it. Leo will be 50 in five and 1/3 years.

Interview footage provided by Variety‘s Marc Malkin.