"My dad has a saying that there are two things you must do," he tells me when we talk at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. "Try and lead an interesting life, and no matter what you do professionally or what your life is like, try to find a way to wake up every morning and just be happy you can put your pants on."
"I can't say I'm one hundred per cent there but those are my ambitions."
Leo has been nominated five times for Oscars and has never won---but this year it could finally be his turn.
He is getting rave reviews for his gritty performance as fur trapper Hugh Glass in Alejandro Inarritu's brutal but brilliant frontier epic The Revenant. And if effort counts for anything he should definitely win.
"It is the hardest film I have ever had to do," he tells me."It was a test of all our endurance. Going into it we all knew we were embarking on an adventure that would test everything about us---and it absolutely did."
Inarritu filmed The Revenant chronologically over seven months in the snows and bitter cold of Canada, in weather which often sunk to minus 40 degrees, using only natural light, which sometimes meant filming for only two hours a day.
"It was so excruciatingly cold they had to invent machines for the actors not to get hypothermia after every take we did---it was that extreme," says Leo.