Ben Cornish Isn’t Leonardo DiCaprio, But He Plays Him in ‘Scary Movie 5′ [INTERVIEW]
Under a random set of circumstances, we ended up chatting with actor Ben Cornish today about his role in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and his portrayal of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character from ‘Inception’ in ‘Scary Movie 5.’
Ben Cornish first caught our attention during the Gotham Stock Exchange scene in Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ where, for a second, we mistook him for Leonardo DiCaprio. Apparently, our article caught his attention and he called in to chat with us about his role in ‘Scary Movie 5,’ which, ironically, features him spoofing DiCaprio’s character from ‘Inception.’
After chatting about the unusual circumstances that lead to our conversation, we asked Ben what it was like to be a part of Christopher Nolan’s incredible franchise. “It was amazing. I loved the first two movies and when I booked this I was just over the moon,” Cornish explained. He also described the on-set feel as a very intimate and family-like experience, despite the gigantic size of the production. “The way they shoot, it almost feels like an independent film.”
Even though it was a very comfortable experience, Cornish jokingly admits that he knew “absolutely nothing” about the movie’s plot while filming — as is often the case with those types of films. “They are so secretive. When I auditioned for it … they didn’t even tell me what I was auditioning for.”
‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Bluray and DVD releases are pretty light on deleted scenes, but Ben detailed one take that ended up on the cutting room floor where Bane (Tom Hardy) entered the Gotham Stock Exchange, struck him in the stomach with his motorcycle helmet and says, “hold this!” Unfortunately for Ben, the helmet slam was an improvised moment, which Hardy apologized for after the fact. Cornish clearly doesn’t have any hard feelings over the situation, in fact he asked Hardy to repeat the move in every take and refers to the actor as the “coolest guy” and “really generous.”
Cornish stars in the fifth installment of the ‘Scary Movie’ franchise, which hits theaters today (April 12th), as Dom Kolb, a clear riff on Dominic Cobb (Dicaprio’s character from ‘Inception’). Apparently, we aren’t the only ones who noticed the resemblance between the two actors. “Since before ‘Titanic,’ people have told me ‘you look a lot like Leonardo DiCaprio’” said Cornish. “For whatever reason, there’s been kind of a convergent evolution where we look more and more similar the older we get.” Ben added that he gets mistaken for DiCaprio at least 2 to 3 times a day. “That’s been kind of what I’ve dealt with for most of my adult life [laughs].” Not the worst problem to have — if you ask us.
We assumed preparing to play DiCaprio, or, more accurately, a character he played, would involve making out with Kate Winslet and dating supermodels, turns out that there is actual work that goes into the gig. “I watched a lot of his movies … ‘Inception’ a ton of times … and I worked with a vocal coach.” The vocal lessons, Ben admits, were somewhat difficult because of DiCaprio’s subtle delivery. “There are certain people that you can spoof, Jack Nicholson for instance, where you can just instantly hear it and know [who it is]. Leo is much more subtle that way. He does have these really distinctive tones and I worked really hard to get them, so hopefully that comes across.”
When asked if he’s concerned about any awkwardness between himself and DiCaprio if they do eventually work together, Cornish hopes that he and Christopher Nolan — whom he’d “love to work with again” — remember that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” He also admits that he is a “huge fan” of Leo and calls him a “fantastic actor.”
‘Scary Movie 5′ features no shortage of notorious celebrities — Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, Katt Williams — just hearing those names would make you think the production and set were an insane disaster at all times. Cornish says that was not the case and that he had a great time with the cast. He says that Lohan was “really nice and professional” and that Sheen was “awesome” and that he “would love to work with him on anything.”
Cornish says that those who check out ‘Scary Movie 5′ can expect a rapid-fire attack of jokes and references to movies like ‘Black Swan,’ ‘Evil Dead,’ ‘Paranormal Activity,’ ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes,’ ‘Inception’ and a ton more, in the signature style of co-writer and producer David Zucker (‘Airplane,’ ‘The Naked Gun’).
We’ll next see Ben take on the role of Bobby Kennedy — a more distinctive voice to imitate — in the film ‘Kill the Dictator,’ which tells the story of the 1961 assassination of the Domican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo. That movie, which co-stars Amaury Nolasco (‘Prison Break,’ ‘A Good Day to Die Hard,’ ’2 Fast 2 Furious’), is currently in post production and should be released later this year.