Update (10/4, 6:00 p.m.): A source close to Leonardo DiCaprio says the actor was only joking about joining Elon Musk's expedition to Mars. Oh, well.
Original Story (10/4, 12:30 p.m.): Leonardo DiCaprio is a pioneer of sorts. Having addressed the United Nations, won an Oscar for his performance in The Revenant, and proven that man-buns can be worn in a non-laughable way, the actor claims he’s going to be among the first humans to visit Mars.
On Monday, DiCaprio attended the White House’s South by South Lawn event, participating in a discussion about climate change with President Obama and climate scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe. As the group broached the topic of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s plans to jettison humans to the Red Planet by 2025, DiCaprio admitted he was already signed up for the trip.
Homing in on the severity of climate change, Hayhoe said “The reality of it is, if you're a human living on this planet — which most of us are, yeah?... As long as we haven't signed up for the trip to Mars. I don't want to know if anyone has — I think you're crazy."
Then DiCaprio confirmed, “I did.”
For anyone aware of the actor’s life outside of show business -- which involves partying at Coachella incognito -- you know he’s quite the climate activist. A recent Rolling Stone profile documents his travels around Miami, Florida, attempting to convince local officials of the consequences of rising oceans. His main reason for being at the White House Monday was to promote his new climate change documentary, Before The Flood.
Hayhoe’s comments -- i.e., calling someone “crazy” for participating in Musk’s interplanetary expedition -- are based in some sense of truth: The SpaceX chief has noted on numerous times the high danger of traveling to Mars, which will take 80 days, according to his estimations. Oh yeah, and participants in the program “must be prepared to die,” according to Musk, who’s been chipping away at his interplanetary transport system since the company's founding in 2002.
So Leo, it seems, is ready to sacrifice his life for the survival of humanity. Even though he’s one hell of a method actor, he’s probably not bluffing.
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Sam Blum is a News Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's also a martial arts and music nerd who appreciates a fine sandwich and cute dogs. Find his clips in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club and Vice. He's on Twitter @Blumnessmonster.