The 41-year-old actor has a new documentary on climate change, Before the Flood, and the film's director, Fisher Stevens, recently told the story of how DiCaprio almost died in 2010 before work on the doc even began.
"The second time we properly hung out together was in 2010 when I was invited to film [oceanographer] Sylvia Earle for a TED conference expedition to the Galapagos. Leo was on the expedition," Stevens recalls to GQ
. "I was filming Sylvia and I had this little easy camera to shoot underwater, and he was Sylvia's diving buddy, so I said, 'Would you film Sylvia?' And he said, 'Yeah I love it man, I love it.'"
Only, things went horribly wrong when DiCaprio's oxygen tank began to leak.
"I was diving buddies with Edward Norton. So we go down and we see 300 Eagle Rays and Spotted Rays and it was an amazing dive," Stevens continues. "Leo bolts away with Sylvia, and Edward goes in front of me and the next thing I know after twenty minutes, I'd lost them all. Then, I see Leo barely breathing, because Leo's tank was leaking oxygen, and Edward had to save him!"
"It was pretty crazy," he admits. "But he actually did get some film for me and it was good for a second, and then it got pretty shaky when he couldn’t breathe. But, we really bonded on that trip."
This, of course, isn't the first time DiCaprio has faced a near-death experience. A great white shark once jumped into his cage in South Africa, which DiCaprio told Wired
he was told hadn't happened to anyone in 30 years. He also shared that during a flight to Russia, an engine "blew up" before his eyes, forcing the plane to do an emergency landing. In January, he went into great detail about his terrifying experience skydiving
to Ellen DeGeneres.
"When both of your parachutes don't open, you tend to not want to repeat something like that," he joked. "I jumped out of the airplane and my first [parachute] didn't open. It's tandem, so somebody's on your back, and they cut that line. We started free falling towards earth. And that's when you get the 8x10 glossies of your whole life flashing before your eyes."
"Then the second one was tangled as well, and I saw all of my friends sort of popping off with their parachutes, and I'm still plummeting toward planet Earth," he continued. "And then that was tangled for about a good, I don't know, 20, 30 seconds. Then he untangled it and he told me, 'Oh, you're probably going to break your legs now because we're going too fast.' So it was one of the worst experiences of my life and I'll never do it again."
"[I was] enduring freezing cold and possible hypothermia constantly," DiCaprio recalled to Yahoo! Movies. "I certainly don't eat raw bison liver on a regular basis."
"I can name 30 or 40 sequences that were some of the most difficult things I've ever had to do," he added. "Whether it's going in and out of frozen rivers, or sleeping in animal carcasses, or what I ate on set."