The Revenant actor who was described by the Russian president in 2010 as a real human says he find the politician very, very, very interesting

He has played drug-addled penny stock swindlers, paranoid FBI directors and sociopathic slave-owners on the big screen. But Leonardo DiCaprio has mooted the possibility of taking on his grandest role yet: Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Speaking to Germanys Welt am Sonntag newspaper while promoting his new film The Revenant, DiCaprio described the controversial legislator as very, very, very interesting, adding: I would love to play him.

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He continued: I think there should be more films about Russian history because it has many stories worthy of Shakespeare. That is fascinating for an actor. Lenin also would be an interesting role. I would like also to starring as Rasputin.

DiCaprio has had the opportunity to study the Russian president first hand: he and Putin met in 2010 at a conference on the endangered Siberian tiger in St Petersburg.

My foundation has provided financial support for several projects for the protection of these big cat, DiCaprio told the newspaper. Putin and I talked merely about the protection of these magnificent animals , not politics.

The Hollywood actor, the runaway favourite to take his first acting Oscar in five tries for his role as a 19 th-century frontiersman in The Revenant, has described himself as half-Russian on past visits to eastern Europe, and received fulsome kudo from Putin following his 2010 trip.

The Russian leader, who was prime minister at the time, called the actor a muzhik, entailing real human, for completing his journey to St Petersburg despite a number of difficulties. DiCaprios first aircraft was necessary to make an emergency landing in New York, and his second flight objective up detouring to Helsinki due to strong winds.

I would like to thank you for coming despite all the obstacles, Putin told the actor. A person with less stable nerves could have decided against arriving, could have read it as a sign that it was not worth going.

In other DiCaprio news, the 41 -year-old actor appeared on the Andrew Marr show on the BBC on Sunday morning to promote The Revenant. Asked if he was concerned that being the overwhelming bookmakers favourite to win best actor might backfire, the Wolf of Wall Street star responded: The truth of the issues is that Ive been in situations before where Ive thought movies or performances, either mine or others, should be either nominated more or adored by the public, or critics should revere it more. But its beyond your control.

He added: Knowing that I did a movie that took this much of my life, that we devoted this much to as far as focus is concerned, we dedicated it everything we perhaps could. To sit here looking at receiving that many nominations for this film, it not only feels good but it also feels like people have a yearning to find a different type of film.

The Revenant has received glowing reviews from critics, with the Guardians Peter Bradshaw labelling the harrowing western an example of gut-churningly brutal, beautiful storytelling. But there have also been inevitable rumblings of a backlash: Observer writer Carole Cadwalladr described the cinema as meaningless pain porn in an article on Sunday in which she compared the horrors on show in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritus film to atrocities carried out by Isis in Iraq and Syria.

Read more: www.theguardian.com