Please clap, ladies: Chivalry isn’t dead. It’s alive and well and living inside of Leonardo DiCaprio, at least if you are “film royalty” like Meryl Streep. The Guardian reports that DiCaprio vigorously defended Streep’s butt’s honor on the set of Don’t Look Up, arguing with the director on its behalf when it came time for — sorry to spoil — Streep’s butt’s nude scene.
Some context for the movie: Streep plays fictional U.S. president Janie Orlean, one of the many public figures actively ignoring and even concealing an oncoming comet disaster in what the filmmakers intended as a climate-change allegory. For our purposes, you only need know that our first woman president is a former nude model with a (trendy) lower-back tattoo — by my count, that’s three glass ceilings shattered — who at some point showcases her naked behind for the camera. According to director Adam McKay, Streep seemed unfazed by her cheeky cameo. “She is fearless,” McKay told the Guardian. “She didn’t even blink. She didn’t even bring it up.”
“But you know who had a problem with it?” McKay continued. “Leo.” And why might that be? “Leo just views Meryl as film royalty … although maybe royalty is not a compliment … but as such a special figure in the history of film,” McKay explained. “He didn’t like seeing her with the lower back tattoo, walking for a second naked. He said something to me like: ‘Do you really need to show that?’ And I was like: ‘It’s President Orlean; it’s not Meryl Streep.’”
They wound up going with a body double, allegedly because DiCaprio (like his co-stars) views Streep as the G.O.A.T., even if she doesn’t know or really care to know what that means. Anyway, what’s interesting to me is that DiCaprio clutched his pearls at the thought of audiences seeing Streep’s bare ass when Streep herself gave no hoots. Not to suggest that DiCaprio, who dated a series of very young models before settling down with his current girlfriend — 24-year-old model Camila Morrone — ca. 2017, might have a hang-up about women aging or anything like that. I’m sure this is just a respect thing, totally, 100 percent.