Even though the reign of Leonardo DiCaprio in Hollywood has begun, this Missouri native, now 35, still keeps his considerable legion of admirers and has the luxury of making only one film per year. In any case, while his fans' emotion subsides from having seen him for three straight hours in "Meet Joe Black," and while we await his next production, "The Fight Club" -- in which he will have a completely different look -- here are the bursts of sincerity Pitt displayed during his most recent meeting with Cinemania.

Q: Will we only be seeing you doing big superproductions from now on?

A: I hope not, although to tell you the truth, I'm not sure. I've been thinking about this quite a bit. What I don't like about working with the big movie studios is that they spend too much money, and that causes too much pressure on the film. I think a film has to speak for itself, and if it does well at the box office, fine; and if it does poorly, too bad. But since so much is invested, they have to get the money back at any cost. I don't like that financial aspect of the movie business at all.

In the case of "Meet Joe Black," I was captivated by the story. I think the final product reflected what I saw on paper when I read the script. I'm very happy with the film.

Q: Do you incorporate your point of view in the scripts you do?

A: That's something I'm becoming more and more involved with. I had to do it in "Devil's Own" because we didn't have a final script when we started filming, and anyway, I've been getting used to the fact that that's the way the industry works. I like to help touch up the script. That's something that appeals a lot to me.

Q: Would you say that fame has become a curse for you?

A: Somebody was asking me that the other day.... We were talking about Buddhism. In that religion, the three terrible karmas are fame, beauty and wealth. Those are the three biggest obstacles you have to overcome in your life.

Q: You're not very lucky in Buddhist terms.

A: That's true.

Q: How do you put up with fame when your face is on every magazine in the world?

A: At first I didn't quite know what to do with it. It was something that confused me a lot. Even though being famous sounded great, in reality it made me feel pretty bad. On the other hand, there were elements of fame that turned out to be much more terrible than I thought. Sometimes it seemed like I didn't deserve so much attention; other times, I felt that so much attention didn't justify the bad times I had to go through for it. It was a very strange time in my life. But little by little I made adjustments and tried to find something that could make me feel better. The last thing you want to do is hide out. You want to go on enjoying your life.

Q: Can you go out shopping without your admirers throwing themselves all over you?

A: The truth is, I don't go out shopping much. I do it twice a year, at most. I go once in the spring, and with what I buy, I hold out till summer; then I go out again....The truth is that I have to do a lot of preparation before going anyplace. Anyway, people usually treat me pretty well and show a lot of respect. From time to time I come across some crazy person, but generally I don't have any problems. The ones that are a headache are the videopaparazzi. I don't know where they'll pop out of and they're not nice people. But it's an occupational hazard, and I have to put up with it.

Q: Paul Newman says that all through his career, he suspected that people went to see him because of his physical attractiveness rather than because he was a good actor. Is this something that worries you?

A: A little. It's a subject I don't especially want to talk about too much, because it doesn't seem to me to be a valid discussion. As far as physical attractiveness goes, that's a trap you can fall into very easily. I want to do things I feel proud of, things that my physical appearance has nothing to do with.

Q: I have the impression you have trouble doing accents.

A: That's true. I'm very bad at them. It's something that I have to work hard on. In Missouri, where I'm from, we don't pronounce English very well. We talk as though we're chewing at the same time, and our intonation is quite monotonous. So I find it very hard to do an accent.... Something that's a silly little thing for any other actor is a real challenge for me.

Q: Do you get along badly with the press?

A: Not as bad now as before. The problem is that I've never gotten them to convey exactly what I mean. Half the time when I give interviews, I don't know whether what I say will be understood, or if it'll be misinterpreted. I always do my best to be friendly with the press, but many times I come off like an idiot. And the truth is that afterwards, I can't make any claims because I was probably a little tired the day I gave the interview. The problem is when something I say is taken out of context and ends up offending somebody. One word can get confused with another or, if it's misinterpreted, it can be understood some other way. I understand that you have to find an interesting angle for your story, something different to write about, and the truth is that most of us actors are quite boring. So a sentence that's a little confusing can have other interpretations, and someone might take it personally. And later on, I don't have the slightest idea why.

Q: Do you feel like you're constantly in competition with the other actors of your generation for the best roles in Hollywood?

A: No, that aspect of my career doesn't bother me in the least. Basically, my colleagues inspire me. They make me feel like part of a community. There's a very interesting group of young actors doing very appealing things. Ewan McGregor, for example, who is excellent. Or Ed Norton.

Q: You're making a movie with Norton?

A: Exactly. We're making a film for David Fincher called "The Fight Club," and besides us it also has Helena Bonham Carter. The three of us organize this boxing club where there are no punches. It's going to be a strange film.

Q: Is there any director you'd like to work with in the future?

A: A lot of directors, like Martin Scorsese, the Coen brothers (Joel and Ethan). I'd love to work with David Fincher again. Danny Boyle is also doing some very interesting things. Another director who fascinates me is Peter Weir. And interesting new directors are turning up all...[ending missing]